May’s electoral fiasco has thrust into unlikely prominence the politician at the centre of Northern Ireland’s ‘cash for ash’ debacle. Prime minister May’s parliamentary survival currently depends on the support of the ten Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs who are on their way to the Palace of Westminster.
The prospect of a deal have caused major concern among groups working for, among other things, LGBT rights.
It’s also worth recalling that the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, was the Stormont minister responsible for the Province’s botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. A retired judge has just started a no-holds-barred independent inquiry into that scandal. Foster’s role is being forensically dissected, along with those of Ofgem, assorted civil servants and consultancy Cambridge Economics Associates. She remains well and truly under a cloud over her involvement in the RHI farrago.
The political fall-out from that scandal helped trigger the collapse of power-sharing arrangements at Stormont. At present Northern Ireland is without a government. Now Foster is effectively the power-broker behind the UK government and May’s life-support system. Surreal? Outlandish? You couldn’t make it up.