One of Northern Ireland’s most controversial politicians is to become its finance minister. Environment minister Sammy Wilson outraged environmental campaigners by denying any link between climate change and human activities. He takes-up the position of finance minister over the summer.
Outgoing finance minister Nigel Dodds steps down to concentrate on his role as an MP, as part of a previously announced plan to end so called ‘double jobbing’ within the largest Northern Ireland party, the DUP. Dodds’ wife, Diane, has just been elected as an MEP.
Other DUP MPs have also stepped down from their ministerial roles. Gregory Campbell is replaced as culture minister by Nelson McCausland and Jeffrey Donaldson ceases to be a junior minister in the office of the First Minister, with Robin Newton taking over. Arlene Foster remains the DUP-nominated enterprise minister, while former minister Edwin Poots returns to the Executive as environment minister.
Two DUP MPs continue as ministers: Peter Robinson, the First Minister, and, ironically, Sammy Wilson. Robinson has said he will step down as an MP at the next election and there is now speculation that Wilson will do likewise.
Peter Robinson said: “I indicated at the time of my appointment as First Minister that I would make changes to the ministerial team during the summer of 2009.”