Belfast Telegraph

Not the time for a general election, says DUP leader Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster
DUP leader Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said now is not the time for a general election and called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to concentrate on securing a deal to leave the European Union.

Mrs Foster's comment come after a senior government source said Mr Johnson would request a general election on October 14 if MPs back the cross-party move to seize control of Commons business on Tuesday in order to block a no-deal scenario.

The DUP leader told the media on Monday evening that she hoped a general election would not be called, saying that the government should be concentrating on its negotiations with the EU.

"If we are in the realms of a a general election we will of course stand on our record of delivery through the confidence and supply (agreement)," she said.

"The fact that we have delivered £1billion here to the people of Northern Ireland and we are now building [on that] in speaking to the Chancellor around the spending round which is coming on Wednesday.

"We will stand on a record of delivery, we will stand on a record of standing four-square for the Union.

"Political parties in Northern Ireland cannot be afraid of elections and we are not afraid of elections but we don't believe it is the right time because what we should be concentrating on is getting a deal."

Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard said: "The Tory party have been circus masters for the last number of years when it comes to Westminster.

"They have literally allowed the chaos to infiltrate every single part of the Parliament. And it's increasingly now we are seeing that in the entire democratic process.

"There is a paralysis falling across Westminster, nothing else has been but talk about Brexit and what we have seen in the last couple of weeks is what can only be described as machiavellian maneuvers by Boris Johnson and his puppet-master Dominic Cummings in the background looking at ways in which they can force through and step a side and manipulate the democratic process and the rights and entitlements of ordinary people."

In an address to the nation from Downing Street Boris Johnson said that he did not want an election but that he would not seek an extension to the Brexit deadline- which a cross-party alliance are demanding if there is no deal.

However, a senior government source said the vote would be treated as though it is a vote of no confidence, and that any Conservative MP voting against the Government would have the whip removed from them.

The source added: “If they vote tomorrow to wreck the negotiation process, to go against giving Britain the ability to negotiate a deal, then they’ll also have to reflect on what comes next.”

The Government source said the motion on an early election would be published before MPs vote on Tuesday so they would know the consequences of their actions.

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