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First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster could be facing a vote of no confidence as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) at a particularly fractious time for Northern Ireland's politics.

  • Sam McBride at News Letter reports that "a clear majority of DUP MLAs, as well as at least half the party's MPs and some of its peers have put their names to what is effectively a letter of no confidence in Mrs Foster."
  • The turn against Foster has ostensibly come after she and four other members of the Northern Ireland assembly from the DUP abstained in a vote seeking to ban gay conversion therapy.
  • However, the wider political climate is particularly febrile in Northern Ireland, with loyalist communities angry at the UK gov't as well as Stormont for the Northern Ireland protocol under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, which some unionists have criticised for cutting off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. This (among other factors) has seen outbreaks in violence and rioting in Belfast and Londonderry.
  • The DUP remains the largest unionist political party in Northern Ireland, despite the decline in its clout. From 2017-2019 the party - then with 10 MPs in Westminster - held significant sway over then-Prime Minister Theresa May's minority Conservative gov't.
  • Since 2019, when PM Boris Johnson won a commanding majority for the Conservatives, the DUP has had little influence. On the more hardline loyalist wing of the political spectrum, the DUP has lost support to the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).