12 June 2017
DUP Leader Arlene Foster comment on the results of the Westminster election.
I can only describe the events of the last week as nothing short of a political earthquake across the United Kingdom. In truth,no one expected the outcome of the snap General Election to be a hung Parliament and for the Democratic Unionist Party to be in such an influential position.
Again, I sincerely thank people for the votes they have given to us across Northern Ireland. Never before have ten Democratic Unionists been elected to Parliament. Our increased strength at this election is indeed timely.
For decades our party has played a full role at Westminster and increasingly in recent years our Members of Parliament have been prominent on the national stage. Against that backdrop some of the national commentary, and analysis,about the party, and by extension its voters has been downright inaccurate and misleading. I have no doubt over time those responsible will look foolish in the extreme.
People in Northern Ireland know that the DUP is the party of choice for many. Indeed, almost three hundred thousand people cast a vote for us on Thursday. For the past fourteen years we have been Northern Ireland’s largest party and throughout we have worked to move Northern Ireland forward through political negotiations and the power sharing institutions. We have become Northern Ireland’s main voice at Westminster since 2005.
The mandate given to us by the people will be used responsibly. We stood on a clear policy platform of wanting to strengthen the union, of working for a good deal for Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom leaves the EU, and of promising to do our best to get Stormont up and running again for the benefit of all. We will use the position we find ourselves in to do as we promised.
When I meet with the Prime Minister in London tomorrow I will be mindful of our responsibility to help bring stability to the nation at this time of challenge. We will be working to agree arrangements that can provide the whole nation withgood government. The DUP will work to bring about outcomes that are beneficial to all and in Parliament Northern Ireland’s case will be centre stage.
Bringing about outcomes that are beneficial to all also means getting Stormont working again. I will be engaged with the other local political parties to see if we achieve agreement to restore our local Assembly and Executive.
To those locally who are complaining the loudest about our position of influence I say to them that the time for unreasonable behaviour and unrealistic demands are over. The people have spoken and we must work together if we are to get Stormont up and running. The next few weeks represent a real opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland to heed the will of the people and capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead for everyone.