Foster hails ‘historic’ election but refuses to answer questions

Party will strive for best deal for Northern Ireland and its people, says DUP leader

Arlene Foster has confirmed that the DUP will go into talks with British prime minister Theresa May about supporting her Conservative Party. Video: Reuters

 

The DUP is to enter negotiations with the British Tory party to “explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge”.

At a press conference on Friday DUP leader Arlene Foster described the general election as “truly historic” and thanked the 292,316 voters who returned 10 DUP MPs to the House of Commons “to stand up and speak out for Northern Ireland”.

Ms Foster declined to answer questions from the media assembled at the Stormont Hotel.

In a prepared statement she said: “To secure over a third of all votes cast is truly humbling. We do not take your support for granted and we make you all a simple promise to do everything we can to reward the trust you have placed in this Party.

“Yesterday also represented a great result for the union. Not just here in Northern Ireland but right across our United Kingdom. Those who want to tear apart the union that we cherish and benefit from so hugely have been sent a clear and resounding message.

“In the days and weeks ahead, it is that union that will be to the forefront of our minds. The union is our “guiding star”. We may represent Northern Ireland constituencies in the House of Commons but we are as seized of the interests of the kingdom as a whole as we are for our small province.

“I make no apology for saying that the DUP will always strive for the best deal for Northern Ireland and its people. But equally, we want the best for all of the United Kingdom. These are challenging times.

“Our United Kingdom – and indeed our very way of life – are under threat from extremists. Negotiations on our exit from the European Union are about to commence. And we now face uncertainty in Westminster.

“The prime minister has spoken with me this morning and we will enter discussions with the Conservatives to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge.”