UUP leader Mike Nesbitt wants to become Education Minister.
Mr Nesbitt told his party’s annual general meeting (AGM) that education is his key priority in the Assembly.
The Strangford MLA called on the Stormont Executive to move on a recommendation to amalgamate the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).
Mr Nesbitt said once this was done, and other ministerial departments were redistributed, the UUP would be happy to take and “fix” education in Northern Ireland.
He told the AGM at the King’s Hall on Saturday: “Earlier this year I sat in discussions chaired by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness and I’m sure I heard agreement on swapping DEL and getting on with it.
“But since then nothing, no delivery just lengthening dole queues.
“So I say let’s deliver on that recommendation – create a single department of economy then we’ll have to redistribute the control of the other departments.
“So the UUP can and should be allowed to take education.
“Give us education and I promise we will fix it not just for the underachieving Protestant boys in working class areas but for all the underachieving boys and girls in this country who deserve nothing less.”