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Lyons replaces Frew as Economy Minister after DUP reshuffle

Paul Frew had only been appointed to the role a number of weeks ago.

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) who has announced that Gordon Lyons (left) is to become Stormont’s new Economy Minister (DUP/PA)

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) who has announced that Gordon Lyons (left) is to become Stormont’s new Economy Minister (DUP/PA)

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) who has announced that Gordon Lyons (left) is to become Stormont’s new Economy Minister (DUP/PA)

Paul Frew has been replaced as Stormont’s Economy Minister, just weeks after he was appointed to the role.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons will take up the role as part of a minor reshuffle of his Assembly team.

Sir Jeffrey said he would carry out a more fundamental reshuffle of posts in September.

Paul Givan remains as First Minister, with Michelle McIlveen continuing as Education Minister.

Mr Frew had been appointed economy minister by previous DUP leader Edwin Poots last month.

Mr Frew is a close ally of Mr Poots and had been his campaign manager during his leadership election campaign.

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Announcing the new appointment, Sir Jeffrey said: “I want to thank and pay tribute to Paul Frew for his work as economy minister over the last number of weeks.

“He has been a dedicated minister, progressing a number of important issues in the Department for the Economy which will be of benefit to everyone in Northern Ireland in due course.

“I have taken the decision to make limited ministerial and post-holder changes at this time so as to minimise any impact personnel changes would have on the business of delivering for people across Northern Ireland.”

He added: “I am mindful that our Executive team, in conjunction with ministers from other parties, has further significant work to do in the next short period. I do however intend to conduct a more fundamental reshuffle of posts in September.

“I have appointed Gordon Lyons to be the new Minister for the Economy. Gordon is well equipped to take on the role and brings with him valuable experience, having served as a junior minister within the Executive Office and as Daera Minister for a period earlier this year.”

Sir Jeffrey was confirmed as DUP leader last week, saying he wants to see his party heal after the deep divisions that have caused chaos in the ranks in recent months.

Internal divisions within the DUP have been laid bare after successive revolts deposed former leader Arlene Foster and her successor, Mr Poots.

Mr Poots’ departure came only weeks after he narrowly defeated Sir Jeffrey in the leadership contest to succeed Mrs Foster.

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Edwin Poots resigned as DUP leader following an internal party revolt against him (Brian Lawless/PA)

Edwin Poots resigned as DUP leader following an internal party revolt against him (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Edwin Poots resigned as DUP leader following an internal party revolt against him (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Poots’ resignation came after he pressed ahead with reconstituting Stormont’s powersharing Executive alongside Sinn Fein, despite a significant majority of his MPs and MLAs being vociferously opposed to the move.

Party anger at a UK Government pledge to grant Sinn Fein a key concession on Irish language laws was behind the internal opposition to Mr Poots’ decision to nominate a first minister to lead the administration alongside the republican party.

Sir Jeffrey has made clear his intent to return from Westminster to assume the First Minister’s job at Stormont.


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