Belfast Telegraph

NI Election: Arlene Foster's leadership is secure, says DUP's Nigel Dodds

By Jonny Bell

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said there is no threat to Arlene Foster's leadership of the party.

He was speaking in response to the Belfast Telegraph story that Mrs Foster could be faced with a revolt with up to 10 MLAs believing she should go amid growing disquiet and following last week's lacklustre showing in the polls.

More: Arlene Foster faces revolt as third of DUP MLAs' want her to step aside and save institutions

Senior DUP sources told the Belfast Telegraph that Mrs Foster should reconsider her decision and not put her personal pride before what was best for "the party and the people of Northern Ireland".

It comes after MP Gavin Robinson raised the possibility Mrs Foster might step aside as First Minister designate until the Renewable Heat Incentive inquiry had concluded. He did stress that it would be for her alone to decide.

Speaking to the BBC Mr Dodds said: "The DUP went into this election and came out of it as the biggest party with 28% of the vote.

"Arlene's position is entirely secure and Gavin Robinson is entirely right to make it clear Arlene has the support of the party and will continue to enjoy that support.

"She has been through a very difficult time. Politics in Northern Ireland has been through a very difficult time and the people of Northern Ireland have been through a very difficult time.

"I think it is incumbent on all of us now to get down to work and try and get devolved government up and running."

He added: "Arlene and the DUP will make decisions on the best interests of Northern Ireland and on behalf of the unionist people that we represent.

"It is not for other people to dictate who leads the DUP, it is for the people to decide and they did on Thursday.

"Clearly there was a bigger turnout on the nationalist side but in terms of the unionist result, Arlene received an enormous mandate, an enormous endorsement in terms of her position as leader of the DUP.

"Journalists have got it wrong in the past on the DUP and are getting it wrong again."

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