Arlene foster

How long will Edwin Poots’s DUP reign last?

New DUP leader Edwin Poots has wasted little time consigning the Arlene Foster era to history. Poots’ shake-up of his Stormont ministerial team has resulted in Foster’s loyalists being shown the door, in favour of what the Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister drily termed ‘Poots’ posts’. Poots’ appointment of Paul Givan, his fellow Lagan Valley MLA, as first minister of Northern Ireland, is perhaps his most controversial, though not unexpected, move. Givan, who like Poots is a creationist, is one of the more verbose figures in the DUP hinterland. During his previous spell as communities minister – at the height of the renewable heating crisis, which did for devolution

Why should Dr Christian Jessen’s fans pay his legal bill?

Wasn’t the whole point of crowdfunding supposed to be about enabling community and artistic projects to take place? That was how I remember it being sold to us, at any rate. But no, I got it wrong. It turns out that the real point of it is to help celebrities pay their legal bills.  Dr Christian Jessen, who appears on a Channel 4 show called Embarrassing Bodies, has been ordered by a Belfast court to pay £125,000 in libel damages to former Northern Irish first minister Arlene Foster for tweeting the false allegation that she was having an extra-marital affair. It is believed that legal costs could add a further

Unionist opinion will harden unless the EU gives ground

Arlene Foster has been forced out as DUP leader because of Unionist anger about the Northern Ireland protocol. She is blamed for being far too trusting of Boris Johnson. Her party’s anger with her has been compounded by how it has fallen in the polls since the protocol started being implemented. But as I say in theTimes this morning, the protocol isn’t even yet in full effect. If the protocol were to be implemented in full, Unionist opposition towards it would escalate to the next level. Next year’s Stormont election would turn into a proxy referendum on the protocol, with unionist parties arguing that if they can get a majority, they

Who would want to replace Arlene Foster?

Arlene Foster has announced that she will be standing down as DUP leader on the 28 May and First Minister of Northern Ireland at the end of June, bowing to the inevitable after the arithmetic suggested that 80 per cent of her Stormont and Westminster colleagues were set against her leadership continuing.  This will be welcomed by those who in recent days orchestrated manoeuvres against her; Foster staging a defiant last stand had the potential to turn the leadership election poisonous very quickly, which was the last thing the embattled party needs. Who would honestly want to replace Foster now, such is the troubling in-tray she is handing over to her successor?

It’s remarkable that Arlene Foster lasted this long

Arlene Foster’s spell as leader of the Democratic Unionist party is over. Today, Foster announced that she is stepping down as party leader on 28 May, and resigning her position as First Minister by the end of June. Her resignation came after a letter, signed by three quarters of the party’s MLAs alongside some MPs, was submitted to its chair Lord Morrow calling for her departure. In what is the most dramatic case of unionist infighting since Foster herself helped destabilise David Trimble’s leadership of the Ulster Unionists in the early 2000s, moves are also afoot to remove her erstwhile deputy Nigel Dodds. Several of her most senior advisers, including the party’s chief