Political news

Arlene Foster to address DUP reception at Tory conference

Arlene Foster at the Tory party conference in Birmingham with former Brexit secretary David Davis

ARLENE Foster will today address a DUP reception at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

The DUP's 'Together for the Union' event will also hear from deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

The former first minister, who last week gave further oral evidence to the RHI inquiry, said the conference provided an opportunity to "engage with fellow unionists from throughout the UK and beyond".

Last year's DUP reception at the Tory conference proved popular, with more than 200 delegates attending the standing room-only event.

For the past 15 months, the DUP's ten MPs have been supporting Theresa May's minority government in Westminster in line with the 'confidence and supply' deal agreed in the aftermath of last year's general election.

Mrs Foster's address is expected to stress her party's desire that Northern Ireland leaves the EU on the same basis as Britain.

Speaking before travelling to Birmingham, the DUP leader said it was important to ensure the needs of Northern Ireland were properly understood by conference delegates.

"The DUP-Conservative confidence and supply agreement is delivering not only the additional £1 billion for roads, schools and hospitals in Northern Ireland but also a better deal for the entire United Kingdom – whether that's our armed forces, parents relying on child care vouchers or our pensioners," she said.

"Our event marks the fact that we work together for the entire United Kingdom as unionists."

The former first minister yesterday tweeted a picture of herself alongside former Brexit secretary David Davis, who resigned from the Tory cabinet over Theresa May's Chequers plan.

"Looking forward to a busy few days at the Conservative conference as we host our event tomorrow," Mrs Foster tweeted.

"It is an opportunity for us to engage with fellow unionists from throughout the UK and beyond. Together we are working to benefit everyone and ensure the needs of NI are understood."

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