DUP: Party funded huge advertising campaign in paper not circulated in NI

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The DUP has taken out an extraordinary four-page wraparound advert in a UK newspaper which does not even circulate in Northern Ireland.

Commuters across major cities in Great Britain were shocked this morning when they found an anti-EU advert placed by Arlene Foster’s party – which does not contest elections outside of Northern Ireland – surrounding the Metro newspaper.

The free newspaper, which has a circulation of around 1.3 million, is not distributed in Northern Ireland.

There has been speculation that the decision may have been an attempt to legally circumvent spending controls on the Leave campaign by getting the DUP to fund the advert.

A DUP spokesman told the News Letter that the advert had been paid for by the party.

When asked whether there had been a donation to the party which had funded the advertising, the spokesman said that all parties receive donations, but that the party does not identify its donors.

“All parties receive donations and we are funding this from party funds,” he said.

Unlike the rest of the UK, donors to Northern Ireland’s political parties remain secret.

The DUP spokesman added: “It’s good that voices from across the are involved in what is a national debate.

“There have been mainland campaigners coming here and we have been addressing events in Great Britain. It is good that all parts of the UK are involved in what is a big decision for us all.”

However, the advert did not have the intended effect with all Metro readers, with some taking to social media to object to the DUP advising them how to vote.