April 16, 2024

News and Political Commentary

Crunch closed-doors DUP meeting ends up live all over social media

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A supposedly confidential meeting of Northern Ireland’s biggest unionist party on a controversial Brexit deal descended into chaos on Monday night after a loyalist activist live-tweeted details of the gathering that were allegedly being leaked from inside.

Jamie Bryson, who opposes the deal, posted a running commentary of the crunch gathering of the Democratic Unionist party’s more than 100-strong executive as expectations rose that leaders were preparing to end a boycott of Northern Ireland’s political institutions that has run on for nearly two years.

Writing on X, Bryson, who is not a DUP member, described furious party figures barking “Phones off!” and said they even tried to get the police to block mobile phone signals from the luxury Larchfield Estate near Hillsborough — a popular wedding venue that on Monday bore witness instead to the depth of unionist divisions.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who has been struggling for months to secure a compromise deal that will placate party hardliners, was met by around 40 protesters with placards including “Stop the DUP sellout”.

On X, Bryson wrote that his posts had sparked “fury and mayhem” inside the room where senior party figures had assembled.

A protester outside Larchfield Estate where the DUP were holding a party meeting
Around 40 protesters stood outside the Larchfield Estate where the DUP were holding a party meeting © Liam McBurney/PA Wire

He said Donaldson opened the meeting by saying negotiations with London on post-Brexit trading rules were over, that the DUP would not win further concessions, and that “we have reached moment of decision”.

It was unclear who was passing Bryson the information.

Donaldson triggered the collapse of the Stormont power-sharing executive and assembly in February 2022 and has been boycotting it entirely since elections in May 2022, in which the DUP lost its long-dominant place as the region’s biggest party,…

2024-01-29 18:49:08

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