Northern Ireland news

Jacob Rees-Mogg's involvement in DUP fundraiser 'frustrating' says Northern Ireland Tory

Jacob Rees-Mogg is to speak at a DUP event in Ballymena tonight. Picture by Dominic Lipinski, Press Association

JACOB Rees-Mogg's decision to attend a DUP fundraiser in Co Antrim tonight is "frustrating and disappointing", a leading Conservative in Northern Ireland has said.

The Tory MP and high-profile Brexiteer is to speak at an event in the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena tonight, hosted by the DUP North Antrim, East Antrim and South Antrim Associations and MPs Ian Paisley, Sammy Wilson and Paul Girvan.

Billed as an 'evening with Jacob Rees-Mogg', the £25-a-head event includes a "cooked buffet supper".

Frank Shivers from the North Down Conservative association said he had written to Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis to express his concern about Mr Rees-Mogg's involvement in the event.

"I am frustrated and disappointed," he said. "We are running candidates for a local election on May 2 and a senior party colleague is raising money for the DUP."

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Mr Shivers said Mr Rees-Mogg should support his party in Northern Ireland, which is "growing from strength to strength".

The Conservative Party has a 'confidence and supply' agreement with the DUP. The unionist party agreed to support the government on key votes in return for financial support for the north.

Mr Rees-Mogg's Conservative colleague Peter Bone is due to speak at another DUP fundraiser next month.

The Irish News recently revealed that the Tory MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire was unaware the event in Co Down was a fundraiser when he accepted an invitation to speak from Strangford MP Jim Shannon.

Despite rumours that the event may have been called off, Mr Bone confirmed yesterday that he was still planning to attend.

"It's still going ahead. I'm still coming," he told The Irish News.

Earlier this month, a DUP spokesman said its associations regularly hold fundraisers.

"The party holds a significant number of events over the year but understandably not all of them generate as much interest or publicity as this particular event in given the general political circumstances," he said.

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