After resigning from her position as Democratic Unionist Party leader and first minister of Northern Ireland, a source close to Arlene Foster told BBC Northern Ireland that she intends to quit the party entirely after stepping down in June. Previously, Foster said she would wait until June to disclose whether or not she would remain in the DUP, but it has now been confirmed that she believes it is a ‘different party’ to that which she first joined in 2005.
Earlier this week, 75% of Foster’s elected representatives signed a letter of no confidence following her recent decision to abstain from voting on a conversion therapy ban. In response to the vote, Foster said: “Politics is a very brutal game,” and added that she has not “spoken to any of the colleagues who are purported to have signed the letters.”
Although Foster abstained from voting on a motion to ban LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in Nothern Ireland, it received overwhelming support from all other major political parties. While the vote was largely symbolic, LGBTQ+ activists are hopeful it will lead to a concrete ban on the controversial practice, with Stonewall Northern Ireland saying: “For years, LGBTQ+ people here have relied either on Westminster or the courts to deliver progress for our community. [We] should be the first government on these islands to deliver a ban on conversion therapy practices in every setting in which they occur.”