Who is Paul Givan?

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Paul Givan, 39, has been put forward to be the next First Minister of Northern Ireland, succeeding the outgoing Arlene Foster on June 14. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) member is the party’s pick for Mrs Foster’s replacement as Stormont’s top dog. The politician’s career trajectory has seen him go from assisting a minister in the devolved Government to potentially holding the highest political office in a decade.

Arlene Foster is due to step down as First Minister of the DUP at the end of the month.

Mrs Foster said she would resign early if the new DUP leader Edwin Poots sacked her front bench.

Mr Poots has started to assemble his ministerial team, nominating Mr Givan as the new First Minister of Northern Ireland’s devolved government.

The outgoing First Minister is due to undertake her final engagement leading the British-Irish council in Fermanagh on Friday.

The DUP reshuffle was undertaken amid tensions and internal revolt in the party.

Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Mr Poots replaced Mrs Foster as the leader and a number of DUP members have quit since the election last month.

Mr Givan was widely tipped to replace Mrs Foster in her role as First Minister.

Once Mrs Foster steps down, the DUP and Sinn Fein must agree on who will be the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Each party will have seven days to reach an agreement or face the prospect of devolution collapsing and an early election being called.

Mrs Foster was both DUP leader and First Minister, but the new leader Mr Poots has said he prefers to split the roles to enable him to focus on party matters.

Who is Paul Givan?

Mr Givan will be the youngest First Minister in Northern Ireland’s history.

He was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2010 and has said there is a “huge responsibility that comes with the position”.

Mr Givan said: “What we now need is an effective transition that needs to take place next week so that we have that smooth delivery of governance.”

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Mr Givan and Mr Poots have previously shared a close working relationship.

The former served as a special adviser to Mr Poots, both when he was minister for the former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and when he was Environment Minister.

Mr Givan’s own political career within the Northern Ireland Assembly began in 2010 when he was co-opted in the Lagan Valley constituency to replace Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

The new First Minister was appointed as Minister for Communities in May 2016 and later as Sports Minister in November of the same year.

Mr Givan found himself amid controversy in 2016 over his decision to cut funding for an Irish language scheme.

The father-of-three, who is a devout Christian and advocate of conservative social policies, previously supported schools teaching the theory of creationism.

He is at the forefront of attempts to roll back abortion legislation tabled at Westminster when the devolved Government could not agree on it.

The prospect of having to drop the bill should he be offered a ministerial post is said to have made him think twice.

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