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Arlene Foster becomes Northern Ireland's first female DUP leader

Published 17/12/2015

Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister smiles at a hotel in Belfast after being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister smiles at a hotel in Belfast after being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister walks from the lectern after the election contest for leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Belfast on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Peter Robinson (L) shares a joke with the new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast after the leadership contest on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (R) listens as the new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister speaks in Belfast after the election contest for leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (L) claps as the new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast speaks after the election contest for leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (L) claps as the new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast speaks after the election contest for leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (L) and new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast wave after the election contest for leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (L) and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (R) raise the arms of new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast after being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (L) and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (R) raise the arms of new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast after being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Former DUP leader Peter Robinson (L) and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (R) raise their hands with new leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister in Belfast after being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (R) shares a joke with outgoing leader Peter Robinson at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (L) addresses the media and party colleagues watched by Peter Robinson (R) at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (C) is congratulated by outgoing leader Peter Robinson (L) and deputy leader Nigel Dodds (R) at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (R) is congratulated by outgoing leader Peter Robinson (L) at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster addresses the media and party colleagues at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (C) addresses the media and party colleagues at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (R) is congratulated by outgoing leader Peter Robinson (L) at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster addresses the media and party colleagues at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (R) addresses the media and party colleagues watched by Peter Robinson at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (R) is congratulated by outgoing leader Peter Robinson (L) at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: The new DUP leader Arlene Foster (R) is congratulated by outgoing leader Peter Robinson (L) at the Park Avenue hotel after the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster succeeds Peter Robinson and becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Arlene Foster (DUP) attends a meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast
Arlene Foster (DUP) attends a meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast
Arlene Foster (DUP) attends a meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th December 2015 New Leader of the DUP Arlene Foster pictured at a Belfast Hotel where she was chosen as party leader of the DUP. She is pictured with Ian Paisley MP. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/12/2015 Arlene Foster (DUP) attends a meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast on Thursday evening, As the DUP set to confirm Arlene Foster as their new party leader. Ms Foster is the only name that has been put forward for the consideration and will be the first woman to take up the post. It comes after current party leader Peter Robinson announced his decision to retire in the wake of the Fresh Start agreement reached at Stormont last month. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: DUP leader in waiting Arlene Foster poses for photographs with party colleagues at the Park Avenue hotel ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster, who will succeed Peter Robinson becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: DUP leader in waiting Arlene Foster (L) jokes with DUP MLA Emma Pengelly (R) at the Park Avenue hotel ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster, who will succeed Peter Robinson becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: DUP leader in waiting Arlene Foster (C) jokes with party colleagues at the Park Avenue hotel ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster, who will succeed Peter Robinson becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - DECEMBER 17: DUP leader in waiting Arlene Foster (L) jokes with Emma Pengelly (2nd L) at the Park Avenue hotel ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster, who will succeed Peter Robinson becomes the first female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. No other nominations were put forward for the role of leader. Mrs Foster will also be appointed as the new Northern Ireland first minister in the coming weeks. The former Ulster Unionist Party member has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks of the DUP following her defection in 2004, twice standing in as temporary first minister for Peter Robinson in times of personal and political crisis. The DUP remain the largest political party within the provinces' Executive government. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Arlene Foster (R), Northern Ireland Finance Minister poses for a picture at a hotel in Belfast before being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister smiles at a hotel in Belfast before being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister arrives at a hotel in Belfast to be elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland Finance Minister arrives at a hotel in Belfast to be elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on December 17, 2015. A special electoral college will gather at the hotel, and Foster is the only candidate for the leadership. Foster will replace Peter Robinson following his announcement that he will step down as Northern Ireland's First Minister and as leader of the DUP. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th December 2015 New Leader of the DUP Arlene Foster pictured at a Belfast Hotel where she was chosen as party leader of the DUP. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Pacemaker Press 14/11/2013 Arlene Foster at the funeral of Eddie McGrady, the former South Down MP at St Patrick's Church in Downpatrick on thursday , Mr McGrady was later then buried at St Patrick's Cemetery, Saul. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BFST Former Ulster Unionist Arlene Foster
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/09/2015: Theresa Villiers has told MPs that despite a request from the DUP, the government does not think the time is right to suspend Northern Ireland's devolved institutions. Ms Villiers will be joined by Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan at Stormont House for talks with the Northern Ireland political party. The DUP's Arlene Foster pictured arriving for the talks. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press 3/7/2012 First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Tourism Minister Arlene Foster during the opening of the New Visitors centre at the Giants Causeway in Co Antrim Yesterday, The £18.5m building has taken 18 months to complete and includes exhibition spaces, a cafe and shops. Walks and trails around the site have also been upgraded, with the addition of a new accessible cliff-top walk for families and people with disabilities .PIcture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/10/2011 Arlene Foster DUP with Open Champion Darren Clarke who was awarded the freedom of the borough of Dungannon pictured at Dungannon Golf Club where he began his career. Photo Colm O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Press 18/1/10 Stand in First Minister Arlene Foster with journalist Eamonn Malley at Stormont yesterday as crunch talks take place on Policing and Justice Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
11/1/2010. NEWLY APPOINTED FIRST MINISTER ARLENE FOSTER addresses the media AT STORMONT AFTERNOON. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.
pacemaker press 11/8/13. Minister Arlene Foster and Hundreds of people protested at a controversial republican parade taking place in Castlederg, County Tyrone. The Tyrone Volunteers Day Parade commemorates republicans who died during the Troubles, including two IRA men killed by their own bomb. Several hundred bandsmen and republican supporters took part. Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers had urged organisers to call off the march, saying it was "causing great hurt" to victims ofterrorism. The parade, which is supported by Sinn Féin, began after 15:00 BST on Sunday and supporters clapped as it moved off. picture Mark marlow/pacemaker press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 1/06/06 DUP Policing board members Arlene Foster and Ian Paisley Junior pictured at the Policing Board's monthly meeting today where they questioned the Ulster Unionists policy of letting PUP member David Ervine join their parliamentry party at Stormont inb the light of the suspected UVF murder attempt on Mark Haddock
Pictured at Hillsborough Court House, an example of an historic listed building, are Arlene Foster, Minister of the Environment and Richard Rogers, Chief Executive, Environment and Heritage Service.  The Minister has announced two major funding initiatives totalling £3.9 million for Northern's Ireland's historic listed buildings.  The historic heritage has great potential both socially and economically and it is hoped many more listed buildings willenefit from this additional funding.
PACEMAKER BFST 05-01-04:DUP party leaders Ian Paisley & Peter Robinson cant hide his delight at the press conference at Stormont to announce that Arlene Foster were joining the DUP after resigning from the UUP last month. 11/1/10 DUP leader Peter Robinson has announced he is to step aside for six weeks as First Minister amid the storm over his wife's private life and finances. Mr Robinson has designated Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster to take charge in the interim.
PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 20-05-2008: His Royal Highness,The Prince of Wales, was guest of honour at the 'Windows of Opportunity' Heritage and regeneration Conference at Stormont Hotel in Belfast. His Royal Highness was greeted by Arlene Foster MLA, Minister of the Environment,and Richard Rogers,Chief Executive for Environment and Heritage Service. PICTURE BY: ARTHUR ALLISON.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -18th November 2015 Finance Minster Arlene Foster pictured in her office at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th December 2015 Portrait of Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings, Stormont in advance of becoming DUP leader. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th December 2015 Arlene Foster pictured in the DUP office in Lisburn with Liam Clarke. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th December 2015 Arlene Foster pictured in Castle Street, Lisburn. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Arlene Foster has been elected as first female party leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The party's MPs and assembly members elected Ms Foster during a meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast on Thursday evening.

Later in the evening, the DUP's 90-member executive will be asked to ratify the appointment.

Ms Foster was the only candidate for leader. She replaces Peter Robinson, who announced his plans to step down as DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister in November.

Ms Foster, was the sole nominee to replace retiring Peter Robinson who will stand down on January 11 when the Northern Ireland Assembly returns from its Christmas recess.

Ms Foster said: "The style of leadership may change but the fundamental values of this party will not.

"I want to take our cause and our case to every part of the province.

"I want to make the case for the Union to every class and creed.

"I want us to help make the lives of our people better."

Read Arlene Foster's statement in full

She said it was "truly humbling to follow in the footsteps of political giants like Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson."

Arlene Foster (R), Northern Ireland Finance Minister poses for a picture at a hotel in Belfast before being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). AFP/Getty Images
Arlene Foster (R), Northern Ireland Finance Minister poses for a picture at a hotel in Belfast before being elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers was one of the first to offer congratulations.

Ms Villiers said: "Warmest congratulations to Arlene Foster on her appointment as leader of the DUP.

"I am sure that Arlene will be committed to doing the right thing for everyone in Northern Ireland.

"As a Minister, Arlene worked hard at home and around the world to secure jobs and investment. She also played a very important role in securing the Fresh Start Agreement and putting the Executive’s finances on a more stable footing.

"I very much look forward to working with her in building a brighter, more secure, future for everyone in Northern Ireland."

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: "Congratulations to Arlene Foster on her appt as DUP leader. I look fwd to working with her in building a bright & secure future for NI."







Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeted: "Congratulations to Arlene Foster on her election as the new @DUPleader. I will work positively with her for the benefit of All our people."

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, who made a high-profile defection from the Ulster Unionist Party in 2004, was endorsed by the party's deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, who ruled himself out of the running for the top job.

Mr Dodds' decision not to run came as a major shock, as there had been widespread speculation that he would become the new party leader and would then nominate Mrs Foster as the new First Minister.

DUP leader in waiting Arlene Foster (L) jokes with DUP MLA Emma Pengelly (R) at the Park Avenue hotel ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUP leader in waiting Arlene Foster (L) jokes with DUP MLA Emma Pengelly (R) at the Park Avenue hotel ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party electoral college meeting on December 17, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson had originally said he was not going to run for leader and backed Mr Dodds for the post. But, after his colleague signalled he was not going to run, he said he was going to reconsider his decision.

Mr Wilson said after reflecting on the matter he still felt it best not to stand.

Read more

DUP's Arlene Foster: one woman who was born to be a leader

Editor's viewpoint: rlene Foster is right leader for a new era  

Kyle Paisley, the son of the founding father of the DUP welcomed Ms Foster's appointment saying she would bring a breath of fresh air.

Mr Paisley, brother to Ian and son of the late Lord Bannside who led the party for almost four decades, currently ministers in the Suffolk area of England.

He said he was "glad" to see Mrs Foster take on the party's leadership.

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, he said: "She is a very capable individual. I have not studied her political career in any great depth but the little I have seen her do I think she is very capable.

"I think she will bring a breath of fresh air to it, as there has never been a women leading unionism in Northern Ireland.

"It'll be new for Northern Ireland, new for unionism, but that might broaden the appeal of the party to have that."

On Nigel Dodds, Rev Paisley said it wasn't surprising that the deputy leader did not run for the party leadership as he had "made his reasons abundantly clear".

Asked if he was sorry the North Belfast MP did not run for the position, Rev Paisley responded: "I'm glad to see Arlene Foster get it as it brings a different perspective to unionism that it hasn't had before.

"That's always good."

Earlier this year, Rev Paisley had said that the DUP might not survive unless there was a change in the leadership.

Asked what direction he felt the DUP would take under Arlene Foster, he said: "That's for the party to decide.

"I don't think Arlene Foster will compromise her unionism, I think it will remain a traditional unionist party under her."

Asked if the party may become more liberal, he said "it may well do".

He continued: "It may have to respond to the changes in society, but there are some things I wouldn't change just because society changes.

"And there are some things that should never change just to keep everybody happy.

"There are issues that you have to standby, regardless if you have to swim against the stream on them."

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