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donaldson bolstered Jeffrey Donaldson's DUP leadership given boost as two councillors return to party

Hanna and Owen had cited allegations of bullying and the treatment of Arlene Foster as reasons for leaving

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Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen have returned to the DUP fold having resigned earlier in the year

Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen have returned to the DUP fold having resigned earlier in the year

Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen have returned to the DUP fold having resigned earlier in the year

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been given a boost as leader of the DUP after two councillors who had previously resigned returned to the party.

Both have been sitting as independent councillors since parting ways with the DUP in protest.

Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen who both sit on Newry, Mourne and Down Council, quit their posts after allegations were made surrounding sexism and bullying within the party.

The pair also said they had become disillusioned after the alleged poor treatment of former party leader and First Minister Arlene Foster after she resigned from her post.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Owen said she felt more content going forward with Donaldson’s “brand of unionism”.

She added: “His is a broad church approach for the party as opposed to occupying narrow political ground. I feel the DUP is very much back on track.”

Ms Owen said she had been approached about joining the UUP after she stood down as a DUP councillor.

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Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP/PA)

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP/PA)

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP/PA)

 

While she declined, she said she has a “huge amount of respect” for the party and for UUP leader Doug Beattie.

Mr Hanna, who is a friend of the DUP leader, when speaking of Mr Donaldson, said he has “absolute faith in his vision and skills”.

He also said he believes the new leadership of the party has provided a “roadmap to progress”.

The councillor has previously said the treatment of Arlene Foster by her party colleagues was “vicious” and “nasty”.

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He also claimed his daughter, Diane Forsythe, who ran as a Westminster candidate for the party, was subject to derogatory remarks about her age and gender.

Edwin Poots succeeded Arlene Foster as leader of the DUP back on May 28, but his leadership only lasted a matter of weeks.

Ms Foster, speaking after her resignation, described her treatment by fellow party members as "pretty brutal".

"That is how politics is and we do not get involved in discussing internal affairs of the DUP in a public way," said Mr Poots after Foster's resignation, saying that he "would assume at some stage it may well happen to me".

He added: "Politics is a rough and tumble game and sometimes people are on the wrong side of it."

Just hours after Paul Givan, Poots’ selection to be First Minister, was sworn in, his party colleagues voted to oust him.

He in turn was succeeded by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson on June 30.

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