Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Arlene Foster's reaction after Karen Bradley praise for BBC - what did she say?

Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Arlene Foster appeared surprised at the Secretary of State's praise for the BBC at the Conservative party conference.

Karen Bradley was speaking at an event with the Welsh and Scottish secretaries of state chaired by Cabinet Minister David Lidington.

She was asked how Northern Ireland benefited from being part of the UK and what it brought to the union.

"We are not united without Northern Ireland," she told the conference.

"I am determined we do everything we can to demonstrate to people in Northern Ireland why being part of the UK is the best thing for them.

"It's Institutions like the NHS... the BBC which delivers great things..."

It's at this stage the camera cuts to the DUP leader who could be seen mouthing something to party colleague Lee Reynolds who gives a wry smile.

BBC journalist Daniel Kraemer had a stab at lip reading: "I'm not sure about that," he tweeted.

During the event the Secretary of State said she was working to change the law to allow for reform of the Executive without the requirement for legislation from Westminster. The minister also confirmed work was ongoing on removing the requirement for her to call an election should the parties continue to be unable to form an Executive as "that was not what the people of Northern Ireland wanted".

She said her government would "never" allow an economic border between Northern Ireland and Britain.

She also praised former Conservative Prime Minister John Major for his work "kicking off the peace process".

She said Northern Ireland was a "thriving, dynamic" place to be which was attracting many new employers.

However, she said it was a source of "immense frustration" there was no functioning Executive in Northern Ireland on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

“We owe it to future generations to make it work,” she said.

BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan has said the DUP is "boycotting" his show over his extensive coverage of the RHI scandal.

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