Arlene Foster planted ‘seed of her downfall’ with crucial decision made weeks into tenure

Arlene Foster 'sowed seeds of downfall' early claims Cairns

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Speaking to Radio 4 Today programme on Wednesday, former special advisor to the DUP Timothy Cairns said Arlene Foster “sowed the seeds of her downfall” a mere two weeks into her tenure as First Minister. His comments come as a growing list of DUP MLAs, MPs and peers have signed a letter of no confidence in Ms Foster demanding she steps down because of the chaos sparked by the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol. He explained how Ms Foster’s strong support for Leave and backing of Boris Johnson has become “a huge mistake” for Unionism in Northern Ireland.

Timothy Cairns said: “I think if she sees this one through she’ll be the greatest political survivor in the history of U.K. politics, I don’t see how she can see this one through.

“I think it will be very difficult for Arlene Foster to stay as First Minister if she relinquishes the party leadership.”

Mr Cairns was then asked why the DUP have lost confidence in Arlene Foster’s leadership.

He replied: “I think the DUP have made quite a few missteps under Arlene Foster’s leadership. If you go right the way back to 2016, she’d only been leader two or three weeks, she was riding high in the polls.”

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Arlene Foster faces question on her DUP leadership

But he added: “She made the decision to come out very strongly for Leave and I think there the seeds were sown of her downfall, that has proved to be a huge mistake for Unionism.”

Mr Cairns explained how “Brexit hasn’t really turned out very well for the people of Northern Ireland” adding how the Northern Ireland Protocol “hangs around Arlene Foster and the DUP’s neck.”

He added: “It’s proven to be right that the DUP should have been campaigning for remain or be neutral, I voted remain because of this very issue.”

And in a damming conclusion, Mr Cairns said: “It was absolutely blindingly obvious to anyone that there was going to be a problem with Northern Ireland, and it was much better to have the devil you know, the EU, than the devil you don’t, who’s turned out to be Boris Johnson.”

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Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster faces being pulled out of office with DUP assembly members and a growing list of MP’s signing a letter of no confidence in their leader.

22 MLA’s and four MP’s and a number of peers in the House of Lords have signed a letter to the party chairman calling on Foster’s immediate resignation over her handling of the Northern Ireland Protocol chaos amid rising tensions in Northern Ireland over the Brexit deal outcome.

As many as 75 percent of DUP representatives have called for her resignation.

Unlike other parties, leadership elections within the DUP have to take place before April 30 each year and only MLAs and MPs can vote for the leader meaning there are just days to make a decision on the First Minister of Northern Ireland’s future.

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Arlene Foster faces question on her DUP leadership

But yesterday Ms Foster brushed off rumours of growing anger at her as leader.

She said: “Stories on leadership come up from time to time, and it’s one of those times.

“It’s important that we lift our eyes and continue the work of rolling out of the restrictions, deal with the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

Ms Foster has been in charge of the DUP, the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, for five years.

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