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Thank you for backing us ... now the work starts to get best possible Brexit deal

DUP leader Arlene Foster writes exclusively for the Telegraph

On Thursday, 292,316 people placed an 'X' beside their DUP candidate. I want to say a huge "thank you" to everyone who put their trust in the Democratic Unionist Party.

It is truly humbling for us to receive over one in three of every vote cast in Northern Ireland. We will honour this record vote with hard work and principled leadership.

Over the last few weeks, I have spoken to hundreds and hundreds of people all over our province who told me the reasons why they were backing the DUP.

I know that people voted for us because they wanted to give a mandate to a strong unionist voice. They may not have agreed with the DUP on every issue, but - like me - they valued the Union above everything else.

This was also a vote to get the best deal for Northern Ireland as we leave the EU. We needed a strong hand to maximise our leverage. Thank you for trusting us to stand strong for Northern Ireland.

People voted DUP to get Stormont back and working. We are prepared to have an Executive in place with Ministers on Monday morning.

That's what the people want.

We have drawn no red lines and set no preconditions. Negotiations can and should happen alongside a functioning Executive so we can deal with important issues in health, education and the economy.

This was a vote to say "no" to a destabilising border poll. Whilst there is a clear majority in favour of the Union, such a poll could only create uncertainty.

People rightly want us to get on with making Northern Ireland work.

Voters have placed their trust in us and gave us a mandate to get on with the job. That starts immediately. We will work to ensure Northern Ireland gets the best possible deal.

To those who didn't vote DUP at this election, I hope that over time, through our hard work and dedication, we will earn your trust too and that, more people will unite under the DUP banner and help move Northern Ireland forward.

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