Secretary of State Brokenshire pulls out of DUP fundraising event

The Secretary of State has pulled out of a DUP fundraising event where he was billed as one of the star speakers, with businesses being encouraged to pay £300 a table to attend.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire
Secretary of State James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire’s name was alongside that of Arlene Foster on advertising material for the business breakfast in Lagan Valley on October 27.

The flyer said that the “extremely popular event” was an “excellent opportunity to network with business and elected representatives”.

Details of the event emerged publicly in The Irish News on Wednesday.

DUP councillor and former Stormont Spad Allan Ewart told the paper that Mr Brokenshire had been booked to speak at the event.

But an NIO spokesman said: “The Secretary of State is not attending this event. We don’t discuss the Secretary of State’s diary.”

For security reasons, it is unusual for the Secretary of State’s movements to be publicly announced as far in advance as was the case with the DUP leaflet.

Meanwhile, Mr Brokenshire has met the DUP parliamentary party at Westminster.

A source close to the Secretary of State stressed that it was part of a series of meetings with MPs from all the Northern Ireland parties with Westminster representation.