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Unionist blogger a thorn in the side for DUP

Jamie Bryson is an unelected loyalist commentator and blogger who has been a thorn in the side of the DUP for most of the past two years.

This was taken to new heights last night as the DUP’s ruling executive held a critical meeting in Co Down.

The party had kept the location under wraps for as long as it could in a bid to reduce the possibility of protests and leaks.

But within minutes of the meeting starting, Mr Bryson gleefully demonstrated that he had thwarted efforts to isolate him from his sources within the party.

He posted a running commentary on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

At times it was a virtual live feed of what was being said.

It was clear that at least one of the 120 or so delegates inside was giving him access to what was being said in what was supposed to be a private meeting.

The speed of the posts suggests it was someone using a mobile phone, smart watch or other device to transmit live audio.

Mr Bryson poked fun at senior DUP officials, claiming they were desperately trying to stop the leaks.

In one post he said: “Party Chairman keeps sporadically shouting “PHONES OFF” But someone reminds him some need to keep them on to monitor my Twitter. Presumably for those at the back who can’t hear..”

At one point he even claimed that the PSNI had been tasked to sweep the room for technical devices to stop the transmissions.

But the leaks and posts kept coming. Protestors outside the gates of the venue gathered in a huddle and laughed as one read the series of posts aloud.

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Afterwards the PSNI took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement to say the claim was not true.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, who shared platforms with Mr Bryson during anti Northern Ireland Protocol rallies, later said much of what had been posted was not an accurate reflection of the meeting.

He also expressed disappointment that a member of his executive had “betrayed” the party.

The intervention did not influence the outcome of the meeting, but demonstrates that there are some within the party who are willing to help one of its strongest critics.

“Senior people in the DUP felt so exercised about this and felt that this was such a defining moment, that they took the step that they did,” Mr Bryson told BBC Radio Ulster.

“Obviously I wasn’t in the room, the venue clearly wasn’t bugged by some hidden device so there was clearly senior people – plural – within the DUP who felt so strongly about this that they took this extraordinary, unprecedented step.”

The thorn in the side has pledged that he will not be going away.

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