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DUP: Arlene Foster sad at way she was 'taken out' of position DUP: Arlene Foster sad at way she was 'taken out' of position
(32 minutes later)
Outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster said she feels "sad" at the way she was "taken out of my position".Outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster said she feels "sad" at the way she was "taken out of my position".
She said Edwin Poots' ministerial reshuffle does not show signs of healing, but that she was "not entirely surprised".She said Edwin Poots' ministerial reshuffle does not show signs of healing, but that she was "not entirely surprised".
Mrs Foster said she thinks the speaker of the NI Assembly will accommodate her in making a personal statement.Mrs Foster said she thinks the speaker of the NI Assembly will accommodate her in making a personal statement.
Former DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly has said she will not be seeking any further roles within the party.Former DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly has said she will not be seeking any further roles within the party.
Ms Little-Pengelly, who has been working as a special adviser to Mrs Foster since January 2020, was the MP for South Belfast between 2017 and 2019.Ms Little-Pengelly, who has been working as a special adviser to Mrs Foster since January 2020, was the MP for South Belfast between 2017 and 2019.
"I have decided that it is the right time for me to step back and take some time in pursuit of other interests for the next number of years," she said."I have decided that it is the right time for me to step back and take some time in pursuit of other interests for the next number of years," she said.
She said she had been "deeply saddened" by what had happened "over the last number of weeks, in particular the nature and manner".She said she had been "deeply saddened" by what had happened "over the last number of weeks, in particular the nature and manner".
"I fundamentally believe in principles of decency, respect, kindness and respect," she said."I fundamentally believe in principles of decency, respect, kindness and respect," she said.
She added there is a "huge piece of work to be done moving forward, to bring this party back together".She added there is a "huge piece of work to be done moving forward, to bring this party back together".
'Representing the people''Representing the people'
Mrs Foster will host the British-Irish Council in County Fermanagh on Friday.Mrs Foster will host the British-Irish Council in County Fermanagh on Friday.
"I've loved representing the people of Northern Ireland and I am of course feeling a mixture of emotions - sad that I was taken out of my position in the manner that I was taken out," Mrs Foster said on Thursday, following a visit to the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast."I've loved representing the people of Northern Ireland and I am of course feeling a mixture of emotions - sad that I was taken out of my position in the manner that I was taken out," Mrs Foster said on Thursday, following a visit to the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast.
Mrs Foster said the British-Irish Council was a "nice circle to finish off my local political career" in County Fermanagh.Mrs Foster said the British-Irish Council was a "nice circle to finish off my local political career" in County Fermanagh.
What next for Arlene Foster?What next for Arlene Foster?
She said Mr Poots would be there in his capacity as agriculture minister "in my team".She said Mr Poots would be there in his capacity as agriculture minister "in my team".
Asked if she would make a final address to the assembly, Mrs Foster replied: "I think that the speaker is going to accommodate me in making a personal statement.Asked if she would make a final address to the assembly, Mrs Foster replied: "I think that the speaker is going to accommodate me in making a personal statement.
"I haven't spoken to the speaker yet, but hopefully I'll speak to him in the near future.""I haven't spoken to the speaker yet, but hopefully I'll speak to him in the near future."
Mr Poots on Tuesday nominated Lagan Valley assembly member Paul Givan to replace Mrs Foster as first minister.Mr Poots on Tuesday nominated Lagan Valley assembly member Paul Givan to replace Mrs Foster as first minister.
Paul Givan has been nominated by the DUP to replace Arlene Foster as first ministerPaul Givan has been nominated by the DUP to replace Arlene Foster as first minister
The move is contingent upon Sinn Féin support.The move is contingent upon Sinn Féin support.
Once Mrs Foster resigns, deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill also steps down as it is a joint office.Once Mrs Foster resigns, deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill also steps down as it is a joint office.
There is then a seven-day period allowed for the approval of a new first minister and deputy first minister by power-sharing partners Sinn Féin and the DUP.There is then a seven-day period allowed for the approval of a new first minister and deputy first minister by power-sharing partners Sinn Féin and the DUP.
Asked if the British-Irish Council would be her last event as first minister, Mrs Foster said she "might" do something on Saturday and Sunday.Asked if the British-Irish Council would be her last event as first minister, Mrs Foster said she "might" do something on Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, on a visit to Northern Ireland on Thursday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove paid tribute to Mrs Foster and said he believed that Mr Poots would always put the interests of the people of Northern Ireland first.Meanwhile, on a visit to Northern Ireland on Thursday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove paid tribute to Mrs Foster and said he believed that Mr Poots would always put the interests of the people of Northern Ireland first.
He said he had worked with the new DUP leader previously and looked forward to continuing to do so.He said he had worked with the new DUP leader previously and looked forward to continuing to do so.
Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill hosted their final post executive meeting press conference on Thursday
Later on Thursday, Mrs Foster said she hopes all of the New Decade, New Approach deal commitments can be implemented as it was a "compromise on all sides". The deal restored power-sharing in January 2020.
"I think we should move forward and try to look to reconciliation," Mrs Foster said.
Standing alongside Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, as they hosted their final post executive meeting press conference, Mrs Foster said the executive did not have the opportunity to do the things that ministers wanted to do.
"I do of course wish the new executive well as they take on the challenge ahead of them," Mrs Foster said.
Ms O'Neill paid tribute to Mrs Foster and wished her and her family well.