Jeffrey Donaldson accuses party members of briefing against the DUP

The leader of the DUP has accused some of his colleagues of damaging the party's electoral prospects and harming the union.

The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has accused some DUP members of briefing against the party, damaging their electoral prospects and harming the union.

In a letter obtained by the Belfast Telegraph, Donaldson said that individuals within the party were “manufacturing attacks in an attempt to gain media coverage or advance their personal agenda”.

He stressed the need for unionist unity, and said he hoped that unionists would “not be working against each other, but working with each other”. This comes after the deputy leader of the UUP ruled out any pacts with the DUP.

The DUP leader confirmed that he had these concerns about some members of the DUP by saying: “Sadly this applies to some within our own ranks who brief against their own party and damage our electoral prospects and the cause of the Union.”

Donaldson said that “years of daily gutting each other on the airwaves” has driven away many pro-union voters from voting in elections, and that this has cost unionism dearly and “helped pave the way for the success of our opponents”.

He expressed frustration that unionism could have had more seats in the last Assembly election if the transfer rate between unionist parties had been better.

“Whatever our differences, I would rather have three or four more pro-Union MLAs in Stormont than MLAs who either want to remove Northern Ireland from the UK or who don’t care about the Union.”

<em>Former leader of the DUP Arlene Foster Pic Liam McBurney PA Images<em>

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been the leader of the DUP since Arlene Foster was ousted by the party in 2021. Edwin Poots had a short stint at the top spot too but quit after controversy over the nomination of Paul Givan to the First Minister post.

Donaldson has said that his goal as leader is to reach out to other unionist parties and groupings to encourage them to work with the DUP.

The DUP were consistently the largest party at Stormont, but in recent years Sinn Fein has taken over as the largest party.

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