The Democratic Unionist Party will elect a new leader on Friday week.

In a statement, chairman Maurice Morrow said party officers have agreed the contest to choose the next leader and deputy leader will be held on Friday 14 May at 11am.

Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson have so far declared they will run to replace outgoing leader Arlene Foster.

Mr Morrow said: "Following a meeting of the party officers today the following decisions were taken.

"The party officers have set the date of Friday 14th May at 11am as the date for a meeting and voting to elect a leader and deputy leader."

The meeting is to take place virtually, in accordance with Covid-19 regulations, and a verdict is expected at around 5pm on the same day.

Ms Foster resigned last week after an internal revolt against her leadership.

The move came in the form of a letter of no confidence signed by a majority of the party's senior elected representatives.

She will step down as DUP leader on 28 May, and as First Minister at the end of next month.

Meanwhile, Nigel Dodds has confirmed that he will step down as DUP deputy leader after the next election.

The former MP for North Belfast was elevated to the House of Lords after losing his seat at the 2019 election, and will continue in the role.

In a statement he said: "Following my appointment to the House of Lords I decided that I would be stepping back from my party role whenever the next internal election cycle occurred.

"Since, under the party rules, Peers are not even part of the party's electoral college for leadership positions, it would be incongruous and inappropriate to do otherwise.

"However I will continue to use my position in Parliament to advance the cause of the Union and to articulate the views of unionists on the future direction of the United Kingdom and on issues affecting Northern Ireland more generally."

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Elsewhere, tributes have been paid to Arlene Foster across the Northern Ireland Assembly chamber.

The First Minister attended Stormont as Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill took her turn answering questions from members on behalf of the Executive Office.

Ms O'Neill joined the tributes, saying she wanted to wish Ms Foster "all the very best for the future", but also delivered a message to whoever will replace her as First Minister.

"I also want to say that my determination is to work closely with the incoming minister, they should be in no doubt of my determination to ensure the delivery of the outstanding commitments, particularly where citizens' rights are yet to be delivered in respect of language and culture, legacy and women's health care," she said.

SDLP member Matthew O'Toole said he wanted to acknowledge it was the first time MLAs had been in the chamber since Ms Foster's resignation.

"While she and I don't agree on very much, perhaps we agree on a degree of frustration at times with the Democratic Unionist Party, but we'll leave it at that," he said.

"Can I wish her and her family all the best as we move on."

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken said he wanted to wish all the best to Ms Foster in the future.

"We might have had our differences but we wish you all the best for the future," he said.

Alliance MLA John Blair also wished Ms Foster the best on behalf of his party colleagues.

"I first met the First Minister when she was doing her duty in my constituency, South Antrim, when I was a local councillor. I saw her dedication to that duty on that occasion and since, and we thank her for that," he said.