General Election

DUP will use increased influence responsibly, says Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster, pictured attending Sunday's remembrance service in Armagh to mark the 100th anniversary of the World War One Battle of Messines, has said the DUP will use their mandate "responsibly". Picture by Cliff Donaldson 
David Young, Press Association

DUP LEADER Arlene Foster has pledged to exercise the party's enhanced influence at Westminster responsibly.

Ms Foster said she hoped to capitalise on opportunities the situation presented for Northern Ireland.

As talks continue between the DUP and Conservatives over a potential confidence-and-supply arrangement to support Theresa May's minority government, Mrs Foster said: "When I meet with the Prime Minister in London tomorrow, I will be mindful of our responsibility to help bring stability to the nation at this time of challenge.

"We will be working to agree arrangements that can provide the whole nation with good government.

"The DUP will work to bring about outcomes that are beneficial to all, and in Parliament Northern Ireland's case will be centre stage."

It is likely the DUP will press for increased investment in Northern Ireland as the price of their support in Westminster and push for a more significant role in the Brexit process.

The DUP's social conservatism on issues such as gay marriage and abortion has been in the spotlight in Great Britain since its role as parliamentary kingmaker became clear.

Mrs Foster branded some of the commentary and analysis about her party as "inaccurate and misleading".

"I have no doubt over time those responsible will look foolish in the extreme," she said.

Mrs Foster, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, said the election result had caused a "political earthquake" across the United Kingdom.

"In truth, no-one expected the outcome of the snap general election to be a hung Parliament, and for the DUP to be in such an influential position," she said.

She added: "The mandate given to us by the people will be used responsibly.

"We stood on a clear policy platform of wanting to strengthen the Union, of working for a good deal for Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom leaves the EU and of promising to do our best to get Stormont up and running again for the benefit of all.

"We will use the position we find ourselves in to do as we promised."

Mrs Foster concluded: "The next few weeks represent a real opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland to heed the will of the people and capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead for everyone."

General Election

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