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Edwin Poots’s reputation as an uncompromising ideologue allows him to be a pragmatist

The new DUP leader has been a vocal opponent of the sea border between Northern Ireland and the mainland—while being responsible for implementing the rules around it

By Finn McRedmond  

Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

It’s often tempting to categorise politicians into discrete categories: the dispassionate pragmatists, best represented by the Eurocrats who line the corridors of Berlaymont; and the hardline ideologues, those who take easily to rousing speeches and grand gestures of principle. But the Democratic Unionist Party’s new leader, Edwin Poots, defies such simple characterisation. 

Speaking to BBC journalist Stephen Nolan last week, Poots made a striking comment: “I can be British because I live in the British Isles, I can be Irish because I live on the island of Ireland, I can be an Ulsterman because I live in the…

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