Boris Johnson’s allies in Northern Ireland vowed Saturday to keep rejecting the British prime minister’s divorce deal with the European Union until his government wins more concessions from the bloc. Arlene Foster, the leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, said she demanded honesty from the British government. She told her party conference in Belfast that regulatory and customs borders between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom were not acceptable. “We will not give support to the government when we believe they are fundamentally wrong and acting in a way that is detrimental to Northern Ireland and taking us in the wrong direction,” Arlene Foster said. “We will oppose them and we will use our votes to defeat them.” Her comments are important because Johnson needs more votes in Parliament than just his Conservative party to get his Brexit deal passed. “Let me say clearly from this platform today that we want to support a deal that works for the whole of the United Kingdom and which does not leave Northern Ireland behind,” she said. “But without change, we will not vote for the prime minister’s agreement.” Parliament has already dealt Johnson a series of setbacks and derailed his promise to take Britain out of the EU by the end of the month “come what may.” Johnson has now pinned his hopes on an early general election, calling for one on Dec. 12, but how Britain will solve its Brexit stalemate is still completely up in the
Arlene Foster, was born Arlene Kelly on 3 July 1970. Foster has plenty of experience of unlikely political marriages, having spent years in coalition government with unionism’s long term political opponents, Sinn Féin.
Arlene has been involved in politics since she was a student at Queen’s University and has always been known as a strong advocate for unionism, particularly in the west of the Province. A lawyer by profession, she was born and bred in South East Fermanagh and still lives in the County with her husband and three children.