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Edwin Poots MLA will be stepping down as Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs at 2359hrs tonight (1 February 2021) to facilitate surgery and recuperation.

DUP Leader and First Minister Arlene Foster has written to the Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker and nominated Gordon Lyons MLA as Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Mrs Foster has also informed the Speaker that Foyle MLA Gary Middleton will take on the responsibilities of Junior Minister in the Office of the First Minister.

Mrs Foster said,

“We give Edwin our best wishes and assure him and his family of our prayers. This is a temporary change, and we look forward to having Edwin back at work, having made a full recovery.”