First Minister’s Future In Doubt As Letter Of No Confidence Supported By DUP Majority

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Arlene Foster, First Minister of Northern Ireland (Image: Sky News)

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster’s future as DUP leader hangs in the balance after party colleagues mounted a heave against her yesterday.

It is understood a significant number of the DUP’s elected members have signed a letter of no confidence in Mrs Foster.Up to 22 of the party’s 28 Stormont Assembly members and four of its eight Westminster MPs are understood to have signed the letter. If those numbers are confirmed and subsequently replicated in any future leadership contest – a vote confined to MPs and MLAs – her five-and- a-half year tenure as leader would be set to end. The letter arises from widespread discontent within the party of post-Brexit trading arrangements between Northern Ireland and Britain along with other issues.

Also last week, the Stormont Assembly passed a motion calling for the introduction of a ban on gay conversion therapy. While the majority of DUP Assembly members voted against the motion, Arlene Foster and a number of senior members abstained. That angered many on the conservative, traditionalist Christian wing of the party who believed she should have voted against it.