Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson denies Poots' claim he plans to stand down

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Media captionMr Robinson said he intended to lead his party throughout the forthcoming elections

First Minister Peter Robinson has denied he has any plans to stand down.

Mr Robinson issued a statement on Wednesday after senior DUP politician Edwin Poots claimed he would leave the top job before the assembly elections.

"Neither now, nor before the assembly election, have I any plans to stand down," Mr Robinson said.

"The public and media can be confident that when I decide such a moment has arrived I will be the one to make the announcement."

He added: "I repeat the comments I have previously made that I will continue to lead as long as the party and the electorate in East Belfast wish me to do so."

In 2013, the DUP leader said he intended to lead his party throughout the forthcoming elections.

On Tuesday, the first minister defended his role as DUP leader.

"I am here and I will continue to be here for as long as the electorate and the party want me here," he said.

His comments followed the announcement of a DUP reshuffle.

Edwin Poots was replaced by Jim Wells MLA as health minister, while social development minister, Nelson McCausland, stepped down as Mervyn Storey took on the role.

Mr Poots made his claim about Mr Robinson standing down BBC Radio Ulster's Stephen Nolan programme on Wednesday morning.

Earlier this month, Peter Robinson said Stormont was "no longer fit for purpose".

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