Newton Emerson: Arlene Foster’s authority is ebbing away

DUP leader’s strangulated denials of the deal that never was have descended into farce

Arlene Foster: in her persistence in her denial of a deal with Sinn Féin she has all the gravitas of an angry rabbit in the headlights

Arlene Foster: in her persistence in her denial of a deal with Sinn Féin she has all the gravitas of an angry rabbit in the headlights

Whoever briefed against Arlene Foster this week has a mischievous sense of timing. The DUP leader was meeting Michael Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, in Brussels on Tuesday morning. At precisely the same time, BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan show was leading with exclusive comments from an unnamed “senior” DUP politician, who claimed a Stormont deal had been drafted last month with Sinn Féin.

The DUP’s explanation for pulling out of that agreement at the last minute is that there cannot have been a deal because a deal was not done – a lawyer’s defence that has left the public cold.

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