Foster looks to start talks despite leadership question

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Credit: Presseye

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said she is seeking to work with other parties to get the Northern Ireland Executive back up and running “in a way in which it will endure”.

Writing in the Sunday Life, Mrs Foster seemed to suggest there would be no change at the top of her party – despite speculation she may have to give in and stand aside for the RHI investigation.

DUP MP Gavin Robinson suggested, in an interview with the BBC’s Stephen Nolan for Radio 5 Live, that such a move may be the way to proceed, but insisted it would be for Mrs Foster to decide.

Sinn Féin has been calling for the DUP leader to step aside to allow the investigation into the botched renewable heat incentive scheme to be completed.

However, the DUP has seemed reluctant to look like they are bowing to Sinn Féin’s demands.

In her article on Sunday, Mrs Foster addressed what had been a difficult election for unionism.

“I am listening not just to those who voted for the DUP, but to those who cast their votes for other parties,” she wrote.

“We must all respect each other’s mandates and work together for the benefit of all the people of Northern Ireland.

“There is no doubt that Sinn Fein had a good election and the nationalist vote was up considerably across Northern Ireland, but unionism should not despair.”

She continued: “Over 22,000 more people voted DUP than in our record breaking election last May.

“Unfortunately it was not enough to save some of the seats which we lost. We must learn lessons from this election.”