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28th Apr 2021

Arlene Foster has resigned as First Minister of Northern Ireland

Claudia McInerney

Arlene Foster has this afternoon resigned as First Minister of Northern Ireland

This comes after there were calls within the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for a leadership contest.

In a statement, the DUP Leader and First Minister Arlene Foster said: “A short time ago I called the Party Chairman to inform him that I intend to step down as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party on the twenty-eighth of May and as First Minister of Northern Ireland at the end of June.

“It is important to give space over the next few weeks for the Party Officers to make arrangements for the election of a new leader. When elected I will work with the new leader on transition arrangements.”

She added: “It has been the privilege of my life to serve the people of Northern Ireland as their First Minister and to represent my home constituency of Fermanagh/South Tyrone.”

This comes after three quarters of the members of the DUP’s Northern Ireland Assembly signed a letter which demanded a leadership contest.

In the statement, Foster said that, during her time as the leader of the DUP, “there have been ups and downs over the last five and a half years.”

Foster concluded with a message of unionism as she looked towards the future of Northern Ireland.

She said: “There are people in Northern Ireland with a British identity, others are Irish, others are Northern Irish, others are a mixture of all three and some are new and emerging. We must all learn to be generous to each other, live together and share this wonderful country.

“The future of unionism and Northern Ireland will not be found in division, it will only be found in sharing this place we all are privileged to call home.”

Foster is set to step down as the DUP’s leader on 28 May and resign as Northern Ireland’s First Minister towards the end of June.