Changes to DUP Ministerial and Committee Teams

08 June 2021 - by Terence McKernan

Following three weeks of speculation, newly installed DUP leader Edwin Poots today announced changes to the party’s ministerial team in the Executive.


New Minister

Outgoing Minister

First Minister

Paul Givan

Arlene Foster

Junior Minister (Executive Office)

Gary Middleton

Gordon Lyons

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

Edwin Poots



Paul Frew

Diane Dodds


Michelle McIlveen

Peter Weir


The changes are expected to take effect on Monday 14 June 2021 and are subject to ratification by the Assembly. The British-Irish Council meeting on Friday in Fermanagh - her home constituency - is also expected to be Arlene Foster’s last engagement as First Minister.

After deciding against taking the First Minister position, Edwin Poots is the only DUP minister to remain in post as he continues as Minister in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The new party leader selected his Lagan Valley constituency colleague Paul Givan as First Minister. Givan has previous ministerial experience having served as Minister for Communities in the last Assembly mandate and when ratified, will be the youngest ever member to hold the First Minister role. Givan is also a former Special Advisor to Edwin Poots.  

Gary Middleton has been selected to join Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney in The Executive Office as Junior Minister. Middleton briefly held the position from February to March 2021, after outgoing Junior Minister Gordon Lyons briefly deputised for Edwin Poots in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. He has been an MLA for Foyle since 2015 and will provide a regional balance to the DUP ministerial team.

Paul Frew has been selected as the new Minister for the Economy replacing Diane Dodds. He has been an MLA for North Antrim since replacing Ian Paisley MP in 2010. His first ministerial position, Frew takes on the economy portfolio, having been Deputy Chair of the Committee for Finance.

Strangford MLA Michelle McIlveen will replace Peter Weir as the new Minister for Education. The outgoing Infrastructure Committee Chair has plenty of ministerial experience, having previously served as Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Regional Development Minister, and also as Junior Minister in previous mandates.

The new DUP leader also announced changes to Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs in the Assembly:





Committee for Communities

Paula Bradley remains as Chair

Committee for Health

Gordon Lyons replaces Pam Cameron as Deputy Chair

Committee for Finance



Keith Buchanan replaces Paul Frew as Deputy Chair


Committee for Justice

Mervyn Storey replaces Paul Givan as Chair

Committee for Infrastructure 


Jonathan Buckley replaces Michelle McIlveen as Chair

David Hilditch remains as Deputy Chair

Assembly and Executive Review Committee

Pam Cameron replaces Mervyn Storey as Chair

Audit Committee

William Irwin replaces Joanne Bunting as Deputy Chair

Public Accounts Committee

William Humphrey remains as Chair

Procedures Committee

Tom Buchanan remains as Chair

Standards and Privileges Committee

Christpher Stalford replaces William Irwin as Deputy Chair

Last week, Edwin Poots confirmed Joanne Bunting as the new Chief Whip for the Party with Trevor Clarke and William Humphrey serving as Assistant Whips.

Alongside chairing the Infrastructure Committee, Jonathan Buckley will serve as Edwin Poots’ Chief of Staff. Christopher Stalford will also continue in his role as Principal Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.