Brexit

Arlene Foster says Good Friday Agreement not 'sacrosanct' as she backs Boris Johnson's Brexit plan

Boris Johnson doing pull-ups on the chassis of a Routemaster bus during a visit to Wrightbus in Antrim as Arlene Foster looks on 

DUP leader Arlene Foster has praised former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson's "positive" vision for Brexit and said the Good Friday Agreement should not be considered untouchable as negotiations to reach a final deal with the EU continue.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph ahead of speaking at the Conservative Party conference today, Ms Foster said: "It has been deeply frustrating to hear people who voted Remain and in Europe talk about Northern Ireland as though we can't touch the Belfast Agreement. Things evolve, even in the EU context.

“There has been a lot of misinterpretation, holding it up as a sacrosanct piece of legislation.”

The former first minister said Mr Johnson, seen as a potential leadership candidate for the Conservative Party, was someone the DUP could work with in future. In comments that are likely to be seen as a swipe at the prime minister, Ms Foster said the confidence and supply agreement with the Tories was “party to party” and did not rely on Ms May remaining as leader.

“Whoever leads the Conservative Party we will work with as it’s in the national interest," she said. The reason we signed the agreement was to ensure Brexit.”

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The Fermanagh MLA also said politicians needed to focus on selling Brexit to the public. 

She said: "I think the reason why so many people are turned off by Brexit is because they are being fed a diet of negativity - whether it's infighting, Brussels, being disrespected by people over there.

"We haven't been able to talk about the aspirations for the nation, we've spent so much time arguing about what's happened, is it going to be a disaster for Ireland in inverted commas, instead of actually focusing on what we can achieve in the UK with the Brexit negotiations."

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