Edwin Poots is set to stand down as DUP leader following an internal revolt against him.

In a statement he said: “I have asked the party chairman to commence an electoral process within the party to allow for a new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party to be elected.

“The party has asked me to remain in post until my successor is elected.

“This has been a difficult period for the party and the country and I have conveyed to the chairman my determination to do everything I can to ensure both unionism and Northern Ireland is able to move forward to a stronger place.”

Last month Mr Poots beat Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to succeed outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster as head of the party.

Last month Mr Poots beat Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to become the new leader
Last month Mr Poots beat Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to become the new leader

He pledged to unite the bickering strands of unionism to fight the Brexit deal and lay the foundations for keeping Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.

After being elected he said: "The Northern Ireland protocol has proven to be a massive challenge for us and if we are to fight this, to ensure that everybody in Northern Ireland is not worse off as a consequence of the protocol, then it is for us to do that together."

Mr Poots is a conservative politician and Young Earth creationist who believes the planet is 6,000 years old.

Reacting to his election, Mr Poots, who recently underwent cancer surgery, also praised the "resilience" of the people of Northern Ireland through the first 100 years of its existence.

"It's that resilience that we are going to go forward and make Northern Ireland a good place," he said in his address at DUP party headquarters in east Belfast.