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DUP's Foster 'welcomes' Boris Johnson's move to suspend Parliament as other Northern Ireland parties round on PM

Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that she welcomes a move by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament to hold a new Queen's Speech.

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The Prime Minister faced heavy criticism on Wednesday after it was announced that he planned to suspend Parliament from around September 11 until a new Queen's Speech on October 14.

Politicians from across the UK, including UUP leader Robin Swann and the SDLP's Colum Eastwood have accused Mr Johnson of acting beyond his authority and using the suspension to thwart legislation intending to block a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Eastwood said that the Prime Minister was acting like a "tin-pot dictator", while Mr Swann accused him of abusing his power and raising tensions over Brexit.

Mrs Foster said that her party would be reviewing their Confidence and Supply Agreement with Mr Johnson's Government ahead of the Queen's Speech.

The PM currently relies on the support of the DUP's ten MPs to carry a majority in the House of Commons.

"This has been the longest Parliamentary Session since the Union of England and Scotland in 1707," the DUP leader said.

"We welcome the decision to hold a Queen's Speech marking the start of a new session of Parliament on October 14 where the Government will set out its new domestic legislative agenda.

"As outlined in the Confidence and Supply Agreement in 2017, the terms of that Agreement will also be reviewed in advance of the new session. We originally envisaged that being after two years. This will be an opportunity to ensure our priorities align with those of the Government."

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said that her party would work with the Government going forward.

"In the meantime, we will continue our work with the Prime Minister to strengthen the union, deliver a sensible deal as we exit the EU and restore devolution in Northern Ireland," Mrs Foster said.

"The new session of Parliament will set a new domestic legislative programme which can deal with the matters most important to people such as their safety, their schools and their hospitals."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood described Mrs Foster's statement as "shocking".

"Putting themselves ahead of the people they're supposed to represent. We'll see how that works out," the Foyle MLA said.

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