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John McDonnell demands to see proposed Tory-DUP cash deals

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has demanded transparency over the financial implications of any deals between the Conservatives and the DUP.

The Prime Minister has been forced into talks with the Northern Irish unionists after she lost her Commons majority at the general election earlier this month.

She is hoping to forge a so-called 'confidence and supply' arrangement whereby the 10 DUP MPs vote with the Government in the Commons in exchange for sweeteners.

But Mr McDonnell has raised concerns over any cash arrangements that are on the table in talks between the two parties.

In a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond, he said: “In the interest of basic openness and transparency in government I am writing to ask that you publish any financial measures that have been discussed with the DUP and set out the financial implications of any measures agreed with this party.”

It has been claimed that the DUP will list a 50% cut in air passenger duty among their conditions for a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement.

Mr McDonnell raised concerns about any potential deal on air passenger duty, which he said generated about £90m for the taxman in the 2015/16 financial year.

“This figure is an estimate and may need adjustment to take into account further devolved matters,” he said.

“However a revenue stream of this scale is significant and would pay for the equivalent of, for example, an additional 2,000 firefighters.

“I am writing to ask whether the Government has been asked for this measure by the DUP, has agreed to it or is considering it.”

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