Northern Ireland news

Deborah Erskine succeeds Arlene Foster as new DUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Arlene Foster, left, with her replacement Deborah Erskine

Deborah Erskine has been confirmed as the DUP's new MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone to succeed former leader Arlene Foster.

The Irish News revealed in July that Mrs Erskine was earmarked to take her friend and mentor's vacant seat.

Mrs Foster, who is now a regular presenter on GB News, has also agreed to write a new column in Local Women magazine, according to the Belfast Telegraph. 

Her first column for the monthly magazine will be published this Friday.

Mrs Foster writes: “I’m hoping to bring you my take on some of the big stories affecting women not just here in Northern Ireland but across the world, and so much has been happening it’s difficult to know where to start.”

It is also understood that Mrs Foster plans to remain a DUP member despite signalling her intention to quit the party after she was ousted earlier this year.

Reports in April said the Fermanagh and SouthTyrone MLA would leave the DUP when she stood down as first minister, suggesting the party was not the one she joined in 2004, when it was led by Rev Ian Paisley.

Mrs Foster stayed away from last Thursday's DUP 50th anniversary dinner, however, during his speech at the event Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said she would "continue to be with us every step of the way into the future".

Earlier this week, she told the BBC" "I’m still going to be involved in politics, I’m still going to talk about politics and advocate in relation to the union because there’s a real need to do that and I’ll not be walking away from that.

"Anybody that knows me know that would never be the case.”

The former DUP leader turned GB News host spent the start of this week at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

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