The DUP has hit back at political rivals who have called for the trade minister Jonathan Bell to consider resigning.
The party has accused fellow politicians of mounting a bid to rack up “cheap political points,” after news emerged of an anticipated loss of 1,000 workers’ jobs across Bombardier sites in Belfast, Newtownards, Newtownabbey and Dunmurry.
The DUP also said rivals were attempting to pin a downturn in the company’s worldwide fortunes on a local MLA.
The UUP had initially made the call shortly after midday,
The SDLP later joined in, saying that it appeared he was “out of his depth”.
At around 5.30pm, the DUP hit back.
A statement was issued from East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson, which read: “It doesn’t make it any easier for employees in Belfast that the local job losses are part of 7,000 to be cut worldwide by Bombardier over the next two years.
“With that background elected representatives in east Belfast and beyond have a choice.
“They can attempt to score cheap political points which seek to blame a local devolved minister for job losses in places as far apart as Canada and Germany.
“Alternatively they can take the route that I and colleagues have chosen, which is to roll up our sleeves and do anything possible to help secure orders for the C Series.”
Earlier this month the Belfast Telegraph had quoted Mr Bell as saying, in response to critics’ claims that he was not up to the job: “I don’t agree with what they’ve got to say, but I’ll always defend their right to say it. I’ll be happy to be judged on my record of job delivery.”