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DUP’s Edwin Poots to step down as minister tonight for cancer surgery and recuperation

Edwin Poots MLA will be stepping down as Minister for the Department of Agriculture just before midnigth tonight, February 1, to facilitate surgery and recuperation from cancer, his party has announced.

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.

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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.”

Edwin Poots following his appendix surgery last month

On January 20 Mr Poots revaled in the News Letter that he had been diagnosed with a cancerous growth on his kidney.

The tumour was discovered when he was in hospital for emergency surgery to remove his appendix in December.

Mr Poots said said the announcement that all urgent cancer surgery was being cancelled due to coronavirus pressures “came as an awful blow”.

He said his ideology had always been against private healthcare, but he is now considering a private operation.

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