N. Ireland Politics

Queen approves Arlene Foster's Privy Council appointment

Arlene Foster Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Arlene Foster's appointment to the council shows she is "held in high esteem", Nigel Dodds said

First Minister Arlene Foster's appointment to the Privy Council has been approved by the Queen.

The role of the council, which dates from the court of the Norman kings, is to advise the monarch on carrying out her duties.

Much of its business is routine, concerned with obtaining formal approval of orders already discussed and approved by ministers.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader is one of four new appointees.

Honour

Mrs Foster was recommended for appointment by David Cameron in one of his final acts before resigning as prime minister on Wednesday.

She said she was "really delighted to have received this honour".

"I'm looking very much forward to being part of the process to become a privy counsellor," Mrs Foster said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption New members of the Privy Council kiss the Queen's hand during the swearing-in ceremony

"It's really something for the people of Northern Ireland as well because their first minister will be a member of the Privy Council."

Elevation

The council's swearing-in ceremony, which is held in private, ends with the new member kissing the hand of the Queen.

Nigel Dodds, Mrs Foster's party deputy-leader and fellow privy counsellor, said her appointment was "a testament to the fact" that she "is held in high esteem".

"Arlene Foster is recognised as the undisputed leader of unionism in Northern Ireland following the assembly election in May," he said.

"Today's elevation again highlights the fact she is recognised throughout the United Kingdom as the leader of our province."

Leader

Other privy counsellors from Northern Ireland include Peter Robinson, Mrs Foster's predecessor as DUP leader, as well as her party colleague Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble is also on the Privy Council, as well as Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan.

Also appointed to the council on Wednesday were Ruth Davidson MSP, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives and Conservative MPs David Gauke and Ed Vaizey.

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