Northern Ireland news

Just one DUP backbencher declined to sign Arlene Foster no confidence letter

Pam Cameron is thought to be the sole DUP backbencher who declined to sign the no confidence letter. Picture by Matt Bohill

ONLY one DUP backbencher is understood to have declined to sign the letter that led to Arlene Foster's resignation.

Mrs Foster fell on her sword on Wednesday after it emerged that 22 of the party's MLA and four of its MPs had put their signatures to a letter of no confidence.

The Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA will step down as DUP leader on May 28 and as first minister at the end of June.

The letter of no confidence is said to have also targeted DUP deputy leader Lord Nigel Dodds.

However, there is so far no indication that the former North Belfast MP, who lost his seat in 2019, plans to follow Mrs Foster's example.

It was reported last night that Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has begun canvassing support for his leadership bid but as yet no other potential contenders have declared their hand.

It has also emerged that former health minister Jim Wells is likely to have the party whip reinstated after three years, enabling the South Down MLA to vote in any forthcoming leadership contest.

While the letter that prompted Mrs Foster's resignation has not been made public, it is understood that only three of her executive colleagues and one backbencher declined to sign it.

The DUP leader's ministerial colleagues Diane Dodds, Peter Weir and Gordon Lyons refused to put their names to the letter, while South Antrim MLA Pam Cameron is also believed to have declined.

It also remains unclear which MPs signed the letter but it has been speculated that the four are Ian Paisley, Jim Shannon, Carla Lockhart and Paul Girvan.

Read More:

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news