Arlene Foster set for last meeting with PM as Northern Ireland’s first minister
The New European
- Credit: Getty Images
Arlene Foster is set to meet prime minister Boris Johnson for the last time as Northern Ireland’s first minister later.
The outgoing DUP leader announced her resignation last month following an internal revolt within her party.
Edwin Poots was narrowly elected to be her successor over Jeffrey Donaldson last week.
Poots is expected to appoint a colleague to serve as first minister to allow him to focus on leading the party.
Johnson was warmly embraced by Foster and the DUP following his election as the leader of the Conservative Party in 2019.
He received a hero’s welcome at a DUP party conference the previous year where he emphasised his belief in the union and pledged never to create economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
However he is now regarded as having betrayed Foster and her party through the post-Brexit arrangements his government agreed with the EU.
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The Northern Ireland Protocol is fiercely opposed by unionists and loyalists over its requirement for additional checks on goods arriving into the region from Great Britain regarded as a border down the Irish Sea,
At today’s meeting at Downing Street, the protocol is likely to feature in discussions, but the tone may be more of a wind down as Foster prepares to step away from local politics.
The meeting comes amid speculation as to whether she will remain in post as first minister to the end of June as planned, or if Poots will push to install a replacement sooner.
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