Lining up Arlene or Jeffrey for the Finance Ministry?

The DUP have given notice that Arlene Foster, who was pretty careful yesterday to emphasis just how happy she was at DETI is to take questions on behalf of the Finance Minister Nigel Dodds next Monday… With party needing to make a clean breast of the double jobbing issue, and Dodds being thought to favour Westminster, there’s a guessing game going on as to who will take the folio for the Department of Finance and Personnel. Arlene, as Pete pointed out yesterday is one of the more surefooted media performers in the party. But Jeffrey is also thought to be in the hunt for the top job. But with all the sweetners out, and the bad news (ie cuts) yet to come, it is a grail or a poisoned chalice?

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  • Kevin

    Arlene is doing a great job at DETI, working with some of the most at risk companies in Northern Ireland. She knows her stuff. It would be a shame to lose her.

  • percy

    Arlene is very competent, but the Finance job is one of the toughest.
    Both the Dodds are DUP stalwarts but aren’t blessed with personality, so with Diana in Europe and Nigel in Westminster, it sounds like the best way forward for them and the DUP.

  • I agree that she is one of the more surefooted performers on the Box. That is also true of her performance in the Assembly. In my view, she is the DUP’s most able all round politician and administrator.

    The post will soon be a crisis ministerial post. She has shown her mettle. She deserves the challenge and the promotion.

    If she gets fed up with the DUP, she would be welcome to join the Conservatives.

  • roge76

    Given that the DFP portfolio is arguably the most powerful position in the Executive, the DUP will have to ensure that whomever gets the post is up to the job. Arlene has impressed both at DoE and at DETI and has certainly been a shining light since devolution. Whilst some of the MP’s have been utterly exposed by Stormont, people like Arlene have been proven to be very articulate and competent. If Jeffrey is to stay in the Executive he may be used elsewhere, allowing a new person to come into Junior Minister such as Peter Weir. Id expect a return for Edwin Poots too, who was unfortunate to lose out last time.

  • roge76

    And with MP’s stepping down as Chairs, who for DSD and Health Chair, and will the DUP use the opportunity to get rid of Storey as Education Chairman?

  • Pancho

    It will be interesting to see where Sammy is moved to, if anywhere due to his “MP” tag. Foster has definitely been showing how good she is in front of the camera in recent times.

  • maybe…

    could sammy be kept in exec, maybe for finance given his economic background? or asked to go back on education ctte and assist mr storey?

  • Cushy Glenn

    Arlene is a muppet who can’t even speak grammatically. Her only advantages are her gender and relative youth

  • Glencoppagagh

    Maybe not;
    “could sammy be kept in exec, maybe for finance given his economic background”

    Knowledge of economics is hardly a requirement of this position. All you need is a diligent bookkeeper to keep a record of where all the sweeties have been distributed.

  • daisy

    Her blatant cronyism clouding her political judgement aside (remember her Causeway decision?), she certainly does appear to be the best of the current lot. I can’t decide if that’s a positive or a negative statement.

  • Bill

    While Arlene may indeed be articulate, she is one of the more pompous and arrogant members of the public face of the DUP. Some of her presentation on BBC during the election results was a case in point.

    I think she would fair not unlike our education minister when put under some pressure i.e. I am right and that is the end of it.

  • George Osborne

    What exactly does this ‘job’ entail?

  • Seceder

    Arlene’s time at DETI hasn’t been bad – with the exception of her ducking and diving over the Presbyterian Mutual Society. Otherwise good.

    But the real question has to be why is Dodsy going – up until yesterday it was the political collective wisdom that he would stay – now he’s going. Several possibilities;

    1. With Mrs Dodsy making thousands out in Europe even they don’t have the brass neck to keep raking in the money
    2. With the collapse of the DUP vote and Dodsy being a known sceptic – he wants to put clear blue water between himself and Robbo (a toxic entity now)
    3. Genuinely wants to spend more time with his family!

  • daisy

    4. Didn’t want to make difficult decisions about NI’s finances.

  • The Impartial Observer

    #10 Actually to be fair to Arlene, she genuinely didn’t know about the links between Ian Jnr and Sweeney. She seems to have been persuaded to say she “was minded to approve,” Sweeney’s scheme as a kite flying exercise. When it blew up in her face she was by all accounts furious that she had been put in that position and managed to get herself out of it with some dignity.

  • slug

    I think Dodds is a politician of national quality – he was educated at Cambridge – and he may prefer to be in Westminster to Assembly.

  • alan56

    Always thought that it was Dodds job to keep the old time Free P wing of the party on board. ‘If its ok with Nigel, then its ok with us’ type of thing. He has obviously failed in this as the conservative part of the DUP has gone to TUV. So Robbo doesn’t need him here any more. This looks like demotion for Dodds.
    Arleen is a very competent minister who deserves promotion (not sure Finance is promotion!) but a very close friend of Jeffrey who might be after the job. She would have hoped to be MP for FST some day but any deal on that now seems unlikely given the UCUNF position on standing in all seats.
    Simon Hamilton should will be in for promotion (mabe junior minister).

  • SM


    Maybe if she should stand for the CUs instead in FST then 😉

  • Elvis Parker

    Slug Doods may or may not be a politician of national quality but in the DUP he’s going nowhere at Westminster

  • iain

    How many of the local MPs will bother their arses turning up to vote on the Dissolution debate in the Commons tonight.
    As usual their complete and utter failure to represent NI in the Chamber has been very noticeable.

    Maybe Lady Hermon might be free for a change…or the 9 DUP double jobbers might put in an appearance for the vote..or perhaps the 3 sdlp members are round at Alistair’s viewing his furniture.
    Who knows?

  • jj

    Hermon never seems to be there, although I read that she intends to back the government, despite the fact that her new partners in the torys will vote for the motion! Where any NI MP’s about for PMQ’s?

  • Slug,

    A DUP at Westminster is a spare part. Dodds might prefer it though as it is easier for him to meet up with the wife.

    As for Lady Hermon, you can be sure that North Downers will know her voting record in the commons “insite – out” by the time the General Election campaign ends.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is one possible risk here, which is instead of having a single DUP bloc in both Westminster and the Executive, there will now be two, which may make it more difficult for Robinson to exert control. It sounds a bit like Dodds will be the leader of the group in Westminster, and he may well engage in a bit of empire building, which puts him and the MPs alongside him in a strong position if the Executive fails. I think this is relatively new ground, as I don’t think a leading unionist party has ever attempted to perform this kind of split before.

    I wouldn’t read too much into the thing from the Dodds point of view. It’s well known that he hates the Finance Ministry job.

    Arlene Foster has a reputation for being a good administrator and a competent minister. We could do a hell of a lot worse.

  • Ex Pat Pat

    Arlene is not my flavour of politics but I think she is one of the more competent local politicians. I think she will do well. Glad to see the end of the ridiculous double-jobbing. She now needs to get off Fermanagh council.

  • politico

    as MP won’t Jeffrey have to step down as well

  • Faulkner

    Good to see the DUP Trolls out in force singing the praises of Arlene with not a shred of evidence to back it up.

    She hasn’t been in office long enough to do anything but I see no evidence of even a strategy to improve the reputation and performance of InvestNI. In fact there is little sign of any strategic thinking on anything from either her or her department.

    Supercilious, arrogant and patronising – Just what you want from a Minister for Enterprise facing the worst recession in decades.

    Roll on Mr. Poots….. LOL

  • IJP

    CS and Slug

    I agree, regardless of our political differences, that Nigel Dodds is a politician of genuinely Westminster quality.

    On the issue of separate “blocs”, I really think that is federal politics. Especially after the transfer of policing and justice, there will be clearly distinct issues at Stormont and Westminster level. I think, 10 years from now, we will find voters clearly distinguishing between elections at NI (Stormont) and UK (Westminster) level – as is the case already, for example, in Canada.

    All parties will have to question quite how they deal with that.

  • loki

    IJP, Do you really see P& J being devovled any time soon? I think the DUP can’t risk this becoming an issue for Jim Allister to latch onto