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Power brokers: DUP's Foster and Sinn Fein's O'Neill high on UK's top 100 list

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Influential: First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill

Influential: First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill

Influential: First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill

Three Northern Ireland politicians have been named on a list of the most influential figures in UK politics.

Arlene Foster is the highest-ranking person from here to appear on the 100-strong list, approved by broadcaster Iain Dale.

The First Minister is ranked 11th in the rundown, which appears in the latest edition of Mace magazine.

It is billed as the "definitive list of the most powerful and influential people in British politics".

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill - who yesterday was revealed by this newspaper to be Northern Ireland's least popular leader, according to a Lucid Talk poll - was ranked 26th out of 100.

Alliance party leader and Justice Minister Naomi Long is listed 97th.

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Alliance leader Naomi Long

Alliance leader Naomi Long

PA

Alliance leader Naomi Long

However, in the local poll she was ranked in second place, missing out on the top spot to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis also appears in the top 100 list, clinching the number 70 spot.

Taking the number one ranking in Iain Dale's Top 100 is Prime Minister Boris Johnson, followed by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.

In third place is Mr Johnson's close political adviser and Brexit political strategist, Dominic Cummings, who faced calls for his resignation after it emerged he had travelled from London to Co Durham during lockdown while having coronavirus symptoms. The list appears in Mace's autumn/winter edition and Mr Dale, the broadcaster and political commentator, revealed the list was decided by a panel of seven journalists, ex-politicians and "keen observers of the political scene".

It is not clear when the list was compiled, however, it is stated the panel came together to compile the list in the "latter stages of lockdown".

Mr Dale also acknowledges the list is not "scientific" but is instead based on "opinion and judgment".

Along with a list of Mrs Foster's recent achievements at Westminster, including the confidence and supply agreement with Theresa May's Tory government, the DUP leader is hailed as having an important role in influencing the Brexit negotiations in relation to the Irish border.

Ms O'Neill is described as having a "major role" in the debate over Irish reunification.

Ms Long is praised for being "active" in her ministerial role by pushing for domestic abuse legislation.

Belfast Telegraph