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Gregory Campbell eases fears over DUP's leadership

By Noel McAdam

Published 15/12/2015

Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell

A senior DUP figure has moved to steady the ship ahead of Arlene Foster formally taking over as DUP leader this week.

The withdrawal of Nigel Dodds, who had been tipped for the top post but is to remain as deputy leader, led to increased speculation of unease within the party.

But Gregory Campbell, the only party MP who is also still a member of the Assembly, insisted unionists could have confidence in the leadership.

"The wider unionist community needs to have confidence in those leading unionism," he said. "When that confidence is well-founded, people are prepared to move forward. When it is not, people will look elsewhere.

"However, it is at a time like this when clarity has to be given, so that there is no room for ambiguity regarding the party's direction both now and in the future."

Mrs Foster will replace Peter Robinson as First Minister as well as party leader when the former East Belfast MP stands down on January 11 - the first full day of the new Assembly term.

North Belfast MP Mr Dodds unexpectedly withdrew last week - after long signals that the roles of leader and First Minister were to be split - arguing that the party leader should not be based in Westminster.

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