N. Ireland Politics

DUP toasts success of first champagne reception

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Media captionDUP leader Arlene Foster brushed off suggestions the event had embarrassed the party

A champagne reception hosted by the DUP at the Conservative Party conference has been hailed as a success and "all good PR" by DUP leader Arlene Foster.

It was the first alcoholic drinks reception the DUP had ever organised at a party conference and it attracted widespread interest on social media.

Under the late Ian Paisley's leadership the DUP had a tee-total reputation.

Mrs Foster brushed off suggestions the event had embarrassed the party, saying she was pleased with the large turnout.

The 'devil's buttermilk'?

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Image caption The late Ian Paisley (right) was tee-total and famously referred to alcoholic drink as the 'devil's buttermilk'

The lunchtime reception was held in an art gallery at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham.

It was packed and it proved so popular there were long queues to get inside.

Mrs Foster was joined at the reception by DUP MPs Nigel Dodds, Gavin Robinson, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Ian Paisley - the party founder's son - and many party activists.

A number of senior Conservative MPs also attended the event.

The DUP leader told the BBC the event was not originally meant to be billed as a champagne reception but something had been "lost in translation" during the booking.

She said she was pleased with the amount of people who attended and said it "was all good PR".