Belfast Telegraph

No trust in Prime Minister as sentiment on the street in east Belfast firmly behind Arlene Foster's stance

Eileen Evans (left) with Evelyn Marsh
Eileen Evans (left) with Evelyn Marsh
Margaret Mulgrew
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

As the DUP stand firm in opposition to Boris Johnson and his Brexit deal ahead of today's crucial vote in Parliament, the message on the streets of east Belfast was a simple one for Arlene Foster: 'We've got your back.'

In Belfast's heartland of unionism, all along the Upper Newtownards Road, the message to the PM was also a simple one: 'We don't trust you.'

It is soon clear not many are willing to be charmed by the Prime Minister.

Those backing the deal would have us believe this is the best of both worlds for Northern Ireland, but charity shop volunteer Evelyn Marsh isn't buying it.

"I'd put my trust in Arlene Foster a long time before Boris Johnson," she said.

"We've seen his track record. What he says and what he does are two different things and a leopard doesn't change his spots.

"The DUP stuck by the people of Northern Ireland and we'll stick by them.

"We're British, we want to stay British and if the DUP think we're best served by rejecting this latest deal then they have my support."

Eileen Evans' sentiments were broadly the same. "If you go back a few months ago to Theresa May's plan, I can't really see much difference," she said.

"So what has changed? We all want to stay British and trust Arlene to fight for the union. The DUP must stand firm."

Further along the Newtownards Road, several shoppers are gathering at a bus stop outside Connswater Shopping Centre.

At the mention of Brexit, there is a collective shaking of heads.

"Boris Johnson would betray his granny," said one. Most still want the UK to leave the European Union, but agreeing to Mr Johnson's deal might prove too much to stomach.

On the edge of Ballyhackamore, Robert Waddell fears the Prime Minister will do anything to take the UK out of the EU.

"There must be something in it that makes the DUP go against it," he said.

"You'll not find a lot of trust for Boris Johnson around here. I do want Brexit, but not at any cost."

Browsing through the charity shops, Margaret Mulgrew summed up the mood of many.

"Brexit, Stormont, get rid of it all and start again," she said.

"What's important to me is jobs for young people and better health care. But I can see job losses coming in Northern Ireland unless our politicians continue to fight for our country."

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