Belfast Telegraph

Row is last thing Foster needs right now: Wells

By David Young

DUP MLA Jim Wells has claimed Peter Robinson's border poll warning is a major distraction for the party.

The South Down Assemblyman, who had the party whip withdrawn following criticism of the leadership, said he thought Mr Robinson was being "extremely unhelpful" to Arlene Foster.

He said: "The obvious point to be made is that, if you were leader at the time, why didn't you do something about the issue you are now raising publicly after you have retired? Arlene has a terribly difficult job.

"No one envies her position.

"Even though I have my own differences with the party leadership about how I have been treated, I have not taken the opportunity to criticise Arlene on issues such as Brexit, her dealings with Sinn Fein and the whole issue of calls for a border poll.

"I think she is in an invidious position and really needs the support of everyone as she charts her course through what are very stormy waters.

"The last thing that she needs is comments from a former captain of the ship."

Mr Wells said Mr Robinson's intervention came as the party deals with "hugely complex issues", including Brexit.

"What's facing the party leadership at the moment is so complex and so time-consuming that, really, we shouldn't have to worry about what former leading lights in the party have said," he added.

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