Reports on social media of discussions during an internal executive meeting of the DUP were not a true reflection of what happened, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has insisted.
Sir Jeffrey said the word “betrayal” was used in the meeting to describe whoever leaked details of events to loyalist activist Jamie Bryson.
Following a marathon party executive meeting in Co Down, the DUP leader indicated that powersharing in Northern Ireland is set to return after members backed a Government deal aimed at addressing its concerns over post-Brexit trade barriers.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he would drop the blockade on devolution at Stormont once the Government implemented the various legislative assurances and other measures it has offered his party.
Efforts by the DUP hierarchy to keep details of their meeting secret appeared seriously undermined when Mr Bryson, a vocal opponent of the deal to return to Stormont, posted on X, formerly Twitter, what he said were live updates from the confidential briefing – posts that included details of apparent attempts to find out who was leaking the information to Mr Bryson.
When he spoke to the media after the meeting, Sir Jeffrey was asked if he felt betrayed that someone from his party had been leaking details to Mr Bryson.
He said: “I have not yet seen all of what was on Twitter, but I have seen a summary of some of it and I can say absolutely clearly, what was being reported on social media does not reflect what was happening in that meeting.
“There are things on social media tonight purporting to be said in that meeting that are a misrepresentation of what was said and what was happening.
“But it disappoints me – it disappoints me that perhaps there may have been someone in that meeting who was prepared to share some information with others outside of the meeting.”
The DUP leader added: “You used the word betrayal.
“No-one tonight in our meeting at any stage, or in meetings of my party officers has ever used that word, but it was used to describe the person who was leaking out information that was part of a private meeting.”