The DUP’s Edwin Poots has paid tribute to the late DUP MLA Christopher Stalford, after winning his Stormont seat back for the party.
Mr Stalford, principal deputy speaker of the Stormont Assembly and a 39-year-old father of four, died in February, causing shockwaves across the political spectrum.
Speaking to reporters after his election to the South Belfast constituency, the former constituency of Mr Stalford, Mr Poots said that it was “obviously very emotional”.
“It should have been Chris here,” the agriculture minister said.
“I’m just so sorry he’s not here for us. He would have loved it, loved to have been a part of it,” he said, adding that he would have been elected easily.
Mr Poots added that he was “just so delighted to have done this.
“Really, this is for Chris.
“We’ll take this forward and build this association, and build the legacy Christopher left us.”
Mr Poots previously represented the Lagan Valley constituency.
He had initially indicated his intention to stand in the South Down constituency, but he did not win the party’s nomination, with Diane Forsythe getting the nod from the party instead.
In March it was announced that Mr Poots would replace Mr Stalford as the party’s MLA in South Belfast, at the request of Mr Stalford’s family.
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