Tory-DUP tensions erupt over call for Theresa May to be dumped as Prime Minister

Posted On: 
12th October 2018

Tensions between the Conservatives and DUP burst into the open following suggestions that Theresa May could be replaced as Tory leader.

Sammy Wilson has suggested Theresa May should be replaced.
PA Images

Sammy Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, said the Prime Minister could lose her job if his party carries out its threat not to support the Budget amid concerns over her Brexit strategy.

The DUP, whose 10 MPs prop up Mrs May's minority government, have said they could break their electoral pact with the Tories if any deal she does with Brussels leads to a border in the Irish Sea.

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Asked by Sky News what could happen if his party votes against the Budget, Mr Wilson said: "That may lead to a different leader.

"But that's not a question for us, we're not members of the Conservative Party.

"That's up to the Conservative Party to decide whether there is someone else who can heal those wounds and take the party in a different direction, which would ensure that the agreement could stay in place."

But that prompted a backlash from former Conservative minister Nick Boles, who said his party's MPs "respond no better to threats than proud Ulster men or women do".

Meanwhile, DUP leader Arlene Foster hinted that Cabinet ministers should be willing to quit their jobs over Brexit.

Speaking after meeting with senior officials in Brussels, she described the EU's plan of keeping Northern Ireland in a customs union with the bloc as "not the best of both worlds - that is the worst of one world".

She added: "The Prime Minister is a unionist. Many of her Cabinet colleagues have assured me of their unionism.

"Therefore, they could not in good conscience recommend a deal which places a trade barrier on United Kingdom businesses moving goods from one part of the Kingdom to another."