Belfast Telegraph

MP Donaldson plays down speculation over leadership

By Staff Reporter

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has rejected claims he could replace Arlene Foster, insisting there is "no vacancy" for the DUP leadership.

It is reported that some in the party are unhappy with Mrs Foster amid the ongoing fallout from the inquiry into the botched Renewable Heat Incentive.

Sunday Life claimed some senior figures in the party want her replaced by Sir Jeffrey, telling the newspaper that a change at the top is "imperative" to maintain the DUP's status as the largest party in Northern Ireland.

Asked about any ambitions to lead the DUP, and the fact that he was being tipped to do so by prominent party members, the Lagan Valley MP said: "That is very flattering, but there is no vacancy.

"At the moment the party's focus is on getting the best Brexit deal for Northern Ireland and making sure we get devolution back up and running."

According to DUP insiders, support for Foster among the party's 10 Westminster MPs is "lukewarm".

"There is an acceptance even among Arlene's biggest supporters that her time as leader could be coming to an end," one DUP politician said.

Belfast Telegraph

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