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Naomi Long's 'puerile' attack on Arlene Foster backfires, says DUP

Naomi Long slammed 'arrogant DUP' and 'bad tempered' First Minister

Published 11/10/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster
First Minister Arlene Foster
Alliance leadership front-runner Naomi Long
Naomi at home with husband Michael and dog Daisy

The DUP has branded Naomi Long's attack on First Minster Arlene Foster as puerile saying it has backfired on the favourite to take leadership of the Alliance party.

East Belfast MLA Naomi Long announced her bid to succeed David Ford On Tuesday. She is the favourite with all potential candidates thought to be backing her for the post.

Announcing her decision in the Belfast Telegraph, in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview, Mrs Long was severely critical of Arlene Foster's style of leadership as First Minister, accusing the DUP of sometimes now being "even more arrogant and petulant" than it was under Peter Robinson.

More: Naomi Long slams 'arrogant DUP' and says she no regrets over Union flag protests

The DUP was scathing in its response saying the attack had backfired.

A spokeswoman said: "This was a puerile attack on Mrs Foster in particular and the DUP in general which has rather backfired.

"This angry outburst at a number of parties from the incoming Alliance leader is more about making the Alliance Party relevant within the opposition ranks in circumstances where that party had a poor Assembly election result."

Naomi Long today announced that she is putting her name forward to be the next Alliance Party leader. She is likely to be elected unopposed as every Alliance MLA - bar David Ford who has stood aside from the contest - is supporting her.

In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs Long was severely critical of Arlene Foster's style of leadership as First Minister, accusing the DUP of sometimes now being "even more arrogant and petulant" than it was under Peter Robinson.

She also signalled that she would be leading the party "robustly" and taking it in a strongly liberal direction. Her personal position on abortion is markedly more radical than David Ford's.

"A female DUP leader did not usher in a new way of doing politics at Stormont," she said. "The DUP shows nothing but disrespect to those of us who aren't in government."

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