McGrath Challenges DUP First Minister Over Bending The Knee To Tories

South Down MLA Colin McGrath (SDLP) has called on the First Minister to stand up for the people of Northern Ireland by standing against the crippling austerity and narrow isolationist agenda of the Conservative Party.

Mr McGrath said that thousands of those who have had welfare support slashed by the UK government “will be galled to see the First Minister butter them up with free champagne.”

Colin McGrath MLA.
Colin McGrath MLA.

He added: “Since the Westminster election in 2015, the DUP has been desperate to get into bed with the Conservatives. They have slavishly supported the government’s despicable welfare reform agenda, and dance to a Tory tune on air strikes against Syria and backing the renewal of outdated weapons of mass destruction.

“Now as the government finds itself nervously counting votes as its paper thin majority wavers, they finally have a use for the DUP. Backroom deals are nothing new for the DUP, after all they’ve been in government with Sinn Féin for almost a decade.

“But to see the First Minister butter up a queue of Tories with free champagne in a desperate attempt to win favour was demeaning to her office. The people of Northern Ireland have suffered as a result of the crippling austerity promoted by the Conservative Government. It will be galling to the thousands who’ve had their welfare support payments slashed to see Arlene Foster sip champagne with architects of so much pain here.

“Instead of horse trading with the Tories – a party which has signalled its intention to scrap the Human Rights Act – the First Minister should be standing up for people in Northern Ireland.

“Our government has already conceded too much power back to Westminster, and they should not continue to bend the knee to those who have turned a blind eye to our needs.”