EXCL Arlene Foster: Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn would be 'disastrous' for Northern Ireland
Jeremy Corbyn would be "disastrous" for Northern Ireland because of his past support for the IRA, according to Arlene Foster.
The DUP leader claimed a Labour government led by Mr Corbyn could not be neutral in helping to broker a power-sharing deal at Stormont.
"Despite the fact that we have a confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservative party, they have – in terms of the Northern Ireland Office – gone out of their way to be neutral in their dealings here in Northern Ireland," she told The House magazine. "Even though some would say otherwise, that has absolutely been the case and I think it has been shown to be the case.
"You would not have that with a Jeremy Corbyn Northern Ireland Office. He would be very clearly partisan towards Republicanism.
"It would be disastrous for Northern Ireland, because of his previous utterances in relation to Northern Ireland, and his support for the IRA at a time when nobody else was supporting the IRA."
Mrs Foster said Sinn Fein would "most definitely" welcome a Labour victory at the next election because they are "very friendly" with Mr Corbyn.
Asked if she could work with the Labour leader, Mrs Foster - whose police officer father was shot by the IRA in 1979 - said: "No. In the past we have spoken to the Labour party about agreements. It’s not as if we have said it has to always be the Conservative party we would support.
"But for us the choice is very clear when the Labour party have a leader and a Shadow Chancellor and other members who are so clearly advocating a particular direction, a direction which we think would be wrong for the nation. I don’t see Jeremy Corbyn becoming the Prime Minister very soon. I hope not. For the good of us, and for the good of the nation."
The DUP leader also called on Theresa May to get a grip of her crisis-hit government and make sure she delivers Brexit.
She said: "I think what Theresa May and her government need to do now is to focus on the big issues of the day. That is why we got into this confidence and supply arrangement – to focus on our exit from the EU, to do that in a positive way, and to bring stability to the nation.
"It’s so important that she focuses on the big issues and doesn’t get thrown off. I know that’s very difficult when there is so much noise going on, but that’s exactly what she must do. It’s what we did in June and July when we got the confidence and supply arrangement, despite the fact that we were being lambasted as the most extreme party that had ever been thought of. It’s about focusing."
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