DUP Party needs a victim for Northern Ireland’s Brexit barrier. Arlene Foster faces a pull from within her own party and her future as the Democratic Unionist Party leader remains in doubt.
Northern Ireland’s first minister Arlene Foster ‘would have needed some escape level skills to survive’ her party’s putsch.
Why is Arlene Foster stepping down as DUP leader | Northern Ireland’s first minister Arlene Foster:
Arlene Foster six-year tenure as Northern Ireland’s first minister and DUP leader came to an end when a letter was sent from DUP councillors to the party chairman, Lord Morrow, stating they were “severely worried” about the state of the party and country and calling for Mrs Foster and deputy leader Lord Dodds to resign.
Who is Arlene Foster:
Mrs Foster was elected as the first female leader of the DUP in December 2015, She was the only candidate taking over from Peter Robinson.
Her time at the helm has been seen many challenges, having faced Brexit, a muff green energy scandal which thereafter led to the collapse of Stormont for three years and Covid-19.
Why has Arlene Foster resigned from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)?
If Mrs Foster first resigns as Minister, the DUP will then be asked to nominate a replacement within seven days and the Assembly will vote. There is about 80% support among the party’s Stormont and Westminster ranks for a change in the leadership.
Most of the party’s 27 assembly members and reportedly four of its eight Westminster MPs have so far signed the letter of no confidence in Mrs Foster for a new leader. So Foster would have needed some escape level skills to survive.
“We as councillors and as members are deeply concerned about the future of unionism, Ulster conservatism and the DUP,” the letter states.
“As members and councillors, we have received the brunt of the anger from our voter base caused by ineffective leadership.”
A separate letter from councillors in Lisburn and Castlereagh Council states the current party leadership:
“no longer enjoys the confidence of the party membership, the majority of DUP elected representatives and most importantly the unionist people”.
Why the revolt against Arlene Foster?
Mrs Foster has undergone an unstable time as DUP leader which the party supported.
said it would not be commenting. Party grassroots blame Foster and her allies for the trade barrier down the Irish Sea that has put particular pressure on the party’s top nerve as it faces having to weather the storm caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol, which imposed a border down the Irish Sea.
That Boris Johnson negotiated with the European Commission. Turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind. So Unionists fear it weakens their position in the UK.
Theresa May’s efforts to soften the impact on Northern Ireland as insufficient, and paved Johnson’s path to Downing Street.
DUP assembly members fear angry voters will abandon them for harder-line unionist rivals in next year’s assembly election. But casting out Foster gives them a victim and a chance to turn the page.
She has not commented on this news since Tuesday, but she tweeted to say she had visited a primary school in her constituency on Wednesday afternoon.
Well done to the children of Maguiresbridge Primary School who created a special display for Her Majesty The Queen on her 95th birthday. Lovely to view their project today and meet with the staff and children. #proudofNI pic.twitter.com/6rAITBOcl6
— Arlene Foster #WeWillMeet (@DUPleader) April 28, 2021
Few other reasons for stepping down of Arlene Foster?
When Foster and two DUP ministers abstained last week on an assembly vote to ban gay conversion “therapy”, yield a chance, as the late former leader Ian Paisley would have put it, to save Ulster from sodomy.
Free Presbyterians, a Christian fundamentalist who are involved in a reduction of the party’s base but still important chunk also raise the heat.
Others never forgave Foster for the “cash-for-ash” scandal, which revealed sleaze and blundering at Stormont.
Another news is also circulated that recent changes to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws and the commitment to implement an Irish language act were causing concerns with some elected DUP representatives ahead of next year’s assembly election.
How would a leadership election work in NI?
An expert said:
“Arlene Foster is, in a sense, backed into a corner. We are waiting to hear how she is going to respond to this crisis of leadership in the party.”
The party will have its first leadership election that can be called by 30 April. But only a small number of the DUP membership MLAs and MPs will get to vote in a leadership contest.
But other candidates are free to challenge them. As Foster has quit. Party rules currently state that a party leader must be an MLA, but there is talk of changing the law so that a member can fulfil his or her responsibilities.
If no alternative is nominated, the Secretary-General of Northern Ireland is bound to call an Assembly election.
But Mrs Foster said stories on leadership “come up from time to time”.
“So we’ll just deal with it and move on because I’ve bigger things to do, including getting us through this Covid pandemic, including listening to the concerns of working-class communities,”
she also said:
“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure”.
Paisley, who founded the DUP in 1971 as a bulwark of British and Ulster Protestant identity, coronated Peter Robinson as his heir in 2008 and Robinson smoothly passed the crown to Foster in 2015.
A tiny electorate of 41 assembly members, MPs and peers will choose her successor.
Few Tweets on Arlene Fosters Resign:
I have spoken with Arlene Foster today and she informed me of her decision to step down. I have wished Arlene and her family well in the time ahead.
Politics and Power sharing must work and deliver for everyone.
— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) April 28, 2021
Confused about what Arlene Foster’s resignation means for Northern Ireland? Let me, a British journalist who watched one clip of Derry Girls and thinks voters switch from the DUP to Sinn Fein explain. In this thread I will (1/1000)
— Alexander Brown (@AlexofBrown) April 28, 2021
Who could replace Mrs Foster?
Possible contenders to replace Mrs Foster include Gavin Robinson and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, both MPs and relative moderates, who are tipped to run.
An early favourite is Edwin Poots, a Stormont assembly member and agriculture minister who has taken a hard line against the protocol.
On Wednesday, he pulled out of a planned meeting with an Irish government counterpart, burnishing his anti-protocol credentials. Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley Jr, outspoken MPs and Brexiters, may also run.
In a statement, the DUP said on Tuesday it would not be commenting.
“Whilst understanding that there will be from time-to-time public interest in party processes, these issues, in the first instance, are matters for members of the party and we are not able to make any further comment at this time,” it said.
Meanwhile, a planned North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) meeting on agriculture did not go ahead on Wednesday after DUP minister Edwin Poots indicated he would not be taking part.
What impact could a new leader have on Northern Ireland?
It will (more likely) add more flow to an environment that is already causing chaos on the streets.
Though Sinn Féin’s pressure to vote on the resentment, demographic change and Irish alliance among the executive participating in power it will spread more flow than before. But the DUP will fight to oust with some trap.
Flintier resistance to the protocol can speed up the party’s right-lining. But the unity party accelerates the decline of the moderates.
It can also destabilize the executive. The return of the rule could be announced directly from potentially perfect London and/or a new election could begin.
Such serious scenarios raise another question: why does anyone want to lead the DUP?