Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Saturday, 31 May 2008 17:11 UK

Robinson confirmed as DUP leader

Peter Robinson confirmed as DUP leader

Peter Robinson has become DUP leader after 28 years as Ian Paisley's deputy.

His appointment was confirmed at a meeting in Castlereagh Borough Council headquarters in east Belfast.

Mr Paisley had been leader of the party for 37 years. He left without talking to reporters at the end of the meeting.

Mr Robinson repeated overtures to the Ulster Unionist Party, saying he wanted talks with its leader, Sir Reg Empey, he hoped would lead to unionist unity.

He also dismissed rumours that Sinn Fein could spark a crisis by refusing to nominate Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister next Thursday.

"The idea that people are going to bring the houses down around themselves is so ludicrous, particularly when you have a leadership that wants to resolve outstanding issues, that wants to see progress being made.

"There's an awful lot we have to do as an assembly and executive, and indeed I have to say that there are many things that we should be doing that can be win-win," he said.

He also said the DUP and Ulster Unionists should be working together for the cause of unionism.

"There is much that we should be co-operating on, working together to advance the cause of unionism to ensure we can maximise the unionist vote, that we can maximise the return that we get.

"If, in the future, that does bring us so close together that we can have one organisation so be it," he said.

However, in a speech to his party's annual meeting on Saturday, UUP leader Sir Reg Empey rejected Mr Robinson's calls.

Profile: Peter Robinson
31 May 08 |  Northern Ireland
Robinson to follow Paisley path
14 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
Power-sharing will last: Robinson
07 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland

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