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General Election 2017: Read DUP leader Arlene Foster's statement in full

 

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DUP leader Arlene Foster along with her MPs pictured at the Stormont Hotel in south Belfast this afternoon.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

DUP leader Arlene Foster along with her MPs pictured at the Stormont Hotel in south Belfast this afternoon. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 09:  DUP leader Arlene Foster stands with fellow DUP MP's as she addresses the news of a possible Parliamentary agreement with the Conservative party following yesterday's election on June 9, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 09: DUP leader Arlene Foster stands with fellow DUP MP's as she addresses the news of a possible Parliamentary agreement with the Conservative party following yesterday's election on June 9, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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DUP leader Arlene Foster along with her MPs pictured at the Stormont Hotel in south Belfast this afternoon. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster has said talks will begin with Theresa May on the formation of a new government. Read her statement in full

Yesterday’s General Election was truly historic.

The Democratic Unionist Party recorded its best ever election result.

I want to thank each and every one of the two hundred and ninety two thousand three hundred and sixteen people who returned 10 DUP Members of Parliament to the House of Commons to stand up and speak out for Northern Ireland. 

To secure over a third of all votes cast is truly humbling.  We do not take your support for granted and we make you all a simple promise to do everything we can to reward the trust you have placed in this Party.

Yesterday also represented a great result for the Union.  Not just here in Northern Ireland but right across our United Kingdom.  Those who want to tear apart the Union that we cherish and benefit from so hugely have been sent a clear and resounding message.

In the days and weeks ahead, it is that Union that will be to the forefront of our minds.  The Union is our “guiding star”.  We may represent Northern Ireland constituencies in the House of Commons but we are as seized of the interests of the Kingdom as a whole as we are for our small Province.

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I make no apology for saying that the DUP will always strive for the best deal for Northern Ireland and its people.  But equally, we want the best for all of the United Kingdom.   

These are challenging times.

Our United Kingdom – and indeed our very way of life – are under threat from extremists. 

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Winner: Gavin Robinson of the DUP celebrates holding on to his East Belfast seat. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Winner: Gavin Robinson of the DUP celebrates holding on to his East Belfast seat. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Loser: Naomi Long pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Loser: Naomi Long pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Winner: Nigel Dodds of the DUP with wife Dianne. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Winner: Nigel Dodds of the DUP with wife Dianne. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Loser: Sinn Fein's John Finucane  (with Paul Maskey).Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Loser: Sinn Fein's John Finucane (with Paul Maskey).Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Winner Emma Little-Pengelly with Peter Robinson  pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Winner Emma Little-Pengelly with Peter Robinson pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Loser: Alasdair McDonnell with his wife and family pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Loser: Alasdair McDonnell with his wife and family pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Winner: Paul Maskey, left, with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams  pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Winner: Paul Maskey, left, with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at the election count at Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast for Belfast South, Belfast West, Belfast East and Belfast North. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Winner: DUP's Sammy Wilson. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Winner: DUP's Sammy Wilson. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Winner:  Gregory Campbell with his wife Frances after he was re-elected to represent East Londonderry

Winner: Gregory Campbell with his wife Frances after he was re-elected to represent East Londonderry

Winner: Michelle Gildernew celebrates at the election count at Omagh Leisure Complex Omagh for West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.
Photo by John McVitty / Press Eye.

Winner: Michelle Gildernew celebrates at the election count at Omagh Leisure Complex Omagh for West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone. Photo by John McVitty / Press Eye.

Loser: Tom Elliott pictured at the election count at Omagh Leisure Complex Omagh for West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.Photo by John McVitty / Press Eye.

Loser: Tom Elliott pictured at the election count at Omagh Leisure Complex Omagh for West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.Photo by John McVitty / Press Eye.

Winner: Elisha McCallion (Sinn Féin) pictured at the election count at Foyle Arena Derry for Foyle and East Londonderry. Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye.

Winner: Elisha McCallion (Sinn Féin) pictured at the election count at Foyle Arena Derry for Foyle and East Londonderry. Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye.

Loser: Mark Durkan (SDLP) pictured at the election count at Foyle Arena Derry for Foyle and East Londonderry. Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye.

Loser: Mark Durkan (SDLP) pictured at the election count at Foyle Arena Derry for Foyle and East Londonderry. Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye.

Winner: DUP candidate for Lagan Valley Jeffery Donaldson celebrates at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition after being elected as the MP for the area. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: DUP candidate for Lagan Valley Jeffery Donaldson celebrates at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition after being elected as the MP for the area. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: Francie Molloy wins the Mid Ulster seat for Sinn Féin in the UK Parlimentary Election.
PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS

Winner: Francie Molloy wins the Mid Ulster seat for Sinn Féin in the UK Parlimentary Election. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS

Winner: Sinn Fein candidate for Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady pictured celebrating after he wins the seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: Sinn Fein candidate for Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady pictured celebrating after he wins the seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: Ian Paisley pictured at the election count at Seven Towers Leisure Centre Ballymena for North Antrim after keeping his seat. Photo by Stephen Hamilton  / Press Eye.

Winner: Ian Paisley pictured at the election count at Seven Towers Leisure Centre Ballymena for North Antrim after keeping his seat. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.

Winner: Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent) winner of North Down  during the  2017 Westminster Election  count at Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor.
 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Winner: Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent) winner of North Down during the 2017 Westminster Election count at Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Winner: The DUP's Paul Girvan during election count at Valley Leisure Centre Newtownabbey for East Antrim and South Antrim Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Winner: The DUP's Paul Girvan during election count at Valley Leisure Centre Newtownabbey for East Antrim and South Antrim Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Loser: The UUP's Danny Kinahan at the election count at Valley Leisure Centre Newtownabbey for East Antrim and South Antrim - Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Loser: The UUP's Danny Kinahan at the election count at Valley Leisure Centre Newtownabbey for East Antrim and South Antrim - Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Winner: Sinn Fein candidate for South Down Chris Hazzard celebrates after winning the seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: Sinn Fein candidate for South Down Chris Hazzard celebrates after winning the seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Loser: SDLP candidate for South Down Margaret Ritchie pictured after losing her seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Loser: SDLP candidate for South Down Margaret Ritchie pictured after losing her seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: Jim Shannon (DUP)  with his electoral agent Simon Hamilton  during the  2017 Westminster Election  count at Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Winner: Jim Shannon (DUP) with his electoral agent Simon Hamilton during the 2017 Westminster Election count at Aurora Leisure Complex, Bangor. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Winner: The DUP's candidate for Upper Bann David Simpson pictured celebrating after he wins the seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: The DUP's candidate for Upper Bann David Simpson pictured celebrating after he wins the seat at the election count at the Eikon Exhibition Centre Sprucefield for Lagan Valley, Newry & Armagh, South Down and Upper Bann. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Winner: Barry McElduff celebrates  at the election count at Omagh Leisure Complex Omagh for West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.Photo by John McVitty / Press Eye.

Winner: Barry McElduff celebrates at the election count at Omagh Leisure Complex Omagh for West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone.Photo by John McVitty / Press Eye.

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Winner: Gavin Robinson of the DUP celebrates holding on to his East Belfast seat. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

Negotiations on our exit from the European Union are about to commence.

And we now face uncertainty in Westminster.

The Prime Minister has spoken with me this morning and we will enter discussions with the Conservatives to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge.


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