Belfast Telegraph

Foster: He used physical bulk to stand over me in aggressive way

Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster

By Staff Reporter

Former DETI Minister Jonathan Bell first made allegations in 2016 that former First Minister Arlene Foster had acted aggressively towards him as he tried to close the botched RHI scheme.

But DUP leader Mrs Foster rejected his claims - and accused Mr Bell of bullying her.

Interviewed by BBC NI's Stephen Nolan in December 2016, Mrs Foster described how she had felt bullied by Mr Bell during his time as DETI Minister.

"I do recall a meeting with Jonathan, and rather than me being abusive with him, he was very aggressive with me, and I have a witness in relation to how he spoke to me," she said.

"I was sitting in my room, and he came in and used his physical bulk to stand over me in quite an aggressive way - so much so that he was told to step back.

"I have no idea what the anger was about - but I'll tell you this much: the Jonathan Bell that appears on your programme tonight is not a Jonathan Bell that would be familiar to many of his political colleagues: to many of his civil servants, who worked within the department, or indeed to many in the business community.

"I have many female colleagues who have felt intimidated, and felt bullied by Jonathan over the years," the former First Minister said.

Stephen Nolan interjected: "Mr Bell would deny that. He would emphatically deny that."

Speaking calmly and deliberately, Mrs Foster continued: "He may well do that.

"But let me say this. I have felt intimidated by Jonathan Bell on occasion - and I certainly did on that occasion.

"So all of this nonsense that I was aggressive to him, it's quite the contrary."

Belfast Telegraph


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