DUP leader Edwin Poots could face a motion of no confidence – just over a month since he took up the position.
A major row’s erupted within the party over Mr Poots’ decision to nominate Paul Givan as the new Northern Ireland First Minister.
Ahead of a meeting of party officers this afternoon DUP MP Sammy Wilson says any leader who does not have the support of party officers will “find it very difficult” to stay in their position.
Most MLAs wanted a delay because of the deal over Irish language laws which was signed to end a political impasse.
Mr Wilson made the comments as he arrived for a meeting of party officers at the DUP headquarters in Belfast this afternoon, following party leader Edwin Poots’ decision to nominate a first minister despite a request from the most senior party members to delay nomination.
Asked if Edwin Poots would survive a vote of no confidence, Mr Wilson said: “It wouldn’t be a final decision, it would be decision by the executive.
“I think that any leader who doesn’t have the confidence of party officers and didn’t have the confidence of their Assembly group and their MPs will find it very difficult to stay in their position.
“You cannot lead people who are not following you. If you have no followers, you can’t be a leader, can you?”
Asked if Paul Givan would remain as first minister if Edwin Poots loses the confidence of his party, Mr Wilson added: “Again, that’s the issue. If Edwin is no longer leader, then whoever did become leader would have the choice of the first minister.
“The one thing I can tell you is that there is no appetite for a situation where we have an Assembly which can have its powers stripped from it by the Secretary of State at a whim simply because Sinn Féin demand that they get something that they can’t persuade others in the Assembly to deliver for them.
“That is no basis to have devolution.
“They wouldn’t do it in Scotland, it wouldn’t be tolerated in Wales and it shouldn’t be tolerated by anybody, not just the DUP, any self-respecting party in Northern Ireland.”