Belfast Telegraph

DUP leader to attend Orange Order parade in Scotland

Arlene Foster has been invited as the main speaker at the parade in Fife.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster is to attend an Orange Order parade in Scotland.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland confirmed the politician had accepted an invite to the parade in Cowdenbeath, Fife, later this month.

The organisation’s executive officer Robert McLean said he believed it is the first time she has attended one of the Boyne celebration parades in Scotland.

He said: “She’s been invited to be the guest speaker. The main speech would be by Arlene Foster.”

He added that attendance by Northern Ireland politicians at Scottish parades was not unusual and former First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson had done so in the past.

My advice to her would be to channel her energy into getting Stormont back up and running Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird

Ms Foster was Northern Ireland’s First Minister until the collapse of the powersharing agreement at Stormont last year.

The parade on June 30 is one of the biggest in Scotland and involves lodges from Fife, Edinburgh, the Lothians and elsewhere in the central belt.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats in Scotland said Ms Foster’s time would be better spent in Northern Ireland, where there is no devolved government in place following its collapse more than a year ago.

Labour MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Lesley Laird said: “My advice to her would be to channel her energy into getting Stormont back up and running.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “With the Northern Ireland Assembly suspended I would have thought that Arlene Foster’s time would be better spent reaching across the political divide at home rather than marching on the streets of a small town in Fife.”

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens’ co-convener, said: “If Arlene Foster does come across the Irish Sea she’d be better off discussing how to avoid a hard Brexit, or learning about the importance of equal marriage or women’s access to free, safe and legal abortion, rather than taking part in yet another sectarian march.”

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