Belfast Telegraph

Stalford brands DUP insiders 'traitors' over claims Foster demanded loyalty

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford has branded DUP figures who claimed that Arlene Foster asked MLAs for loyalty as "traitors".

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after it was claimed that Mrs Foster held a series of one-to-one meetings with DUP MLAs to ask for their loyalty amid intense scrutiny over her role in the RHI scandal

Mr Stalford said that the claims were "nonsense on stilts" and that people were "watching a few too many episodes of House of Cards".

A senior DUP figure told the BBC's Nolan Show that the meetings occurred in the past few weeks and that the objective of the meetings was a "loyalty check card".

The source also said Mrs Foster asked the MLAs their opinions on the future of the party and what impact the RHI scandal is having on the ground.

However, the DUP rejected this and said the meetings were part of a policy development exercise and were not unusual.

Mr Stalford said on BBC's Inside Politics programme that he knew for a fact that the claims were untrue.

Asked by host Mark Devenport if senior DUP figures including Arlene Foster were damaged goods Mr Stalford said that this was not the case.

"No they're not, certainly not in the case of Arlene Foster. We need to allow the inquiry to run its course," Mr Stalford said.

"As far as I'm concerned whatever conclusions they come to should be implemented in full.

"There's no point me denying that confidence in politics has taken a knock."

The South Belfast MLA said that Mrs Foster would not need to ask him for loyalty "because she would receive it without having to ask".

"I think some people have been watching a few too many episodes of House of Cards," Mr Stalford said.

"Unfortunately they are more Frank Spencer than Frank Underwood."

He said that there was no truth to the claims and that those leaking information were doing so for their own ends.

"I think it is wrong to be making claims about meetings that took place at Stormont that I know to be untrue," Mr Stalford said.

"I think the people that are doing that are traitors and more importantly they are not caring about the country when they are behaving in this manner.

"I think it is completely wrong and I know for a fact that the claims presented about questions of loyalty is nonsense on stilts."

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