The Lagan Valley MP has replaced Edwin Poots after a tumultuous month in Northern Ireland politics.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson will become the new DUP leader after being the only candidate to put his name forward for the position.
He told reporters he would keep Northern Ireland “moving forward” with a “vision to lead unionism into its second century”.
“The task ahead is great. I do not underestimate the challenge, but I know the overwhelming majority of people who live here want Northern Ireland to keep moving forward,” Donaldson said today.
“I have the vision to lead unionism into its second century, by embracing those who believe in a Northern Ireland where people of all identities and none can live, work and raise their family.”
The news comes after Edwin Poots’ 21-day reign came to a sudden end last week, having defeated Donaldson in the race to succeed Arlene Foster.
Donaldson (58) had lost that leadership contest to Poots by 19 votes to 17, but recent events have turned the pendulum in his favour, with DUP chairman Lord Morrow announcing today’s news.
“Following the completion of our party processes Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP will be the next leader of the Democratic Unionist Party,” Morrow said.
“The last number of weeks has been difficult for the Party and mistakes have been made. Now is the time to move forward in a spirit of humility and mindful that our focus must be on serving the people whom we represent. I look forward to the challenges of rebuilding and reconnecting in the time ahead.”
Mr. Donaldson said he would have discussions about Stormont and the Northern Ireland protocol with British prime minister Boris Johnson as soon as possible.
“I will be speaking with the Prime Minister at the earliest opportunity to emphasise that it is not realistic to expect stability when every unionist representative in the devolved institutions opposes the Northern Ireland Protocol,” he claimed.
“The Government and those who claim to be protectors of peace and stability, must step up and deal with the Protocol in a manner which respects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom.
“I will play my part but the Government and Brussels must step up and recognise the flaws of the Protocol and how it was foisted upon Northern Ireland.”