Downing Street insists DUP pact still in place despite rebellion over Budget

Posted On: 
21st November 2018

Theresa May’s agreement with the DUP “remains in place” despite a major rebellion over the Budget, Downing Street has said.

The PM agreed a deal with DUP leader Arlene Foster in the wake of last year's snap election.

The Prime Minister was accused of being “in office, but not in power” last night after the unionist party - whose support Mrs May relies on for her Commons majority - refused to back the Finance Bill and forced the Government to accept changes tabled by Labour and the SNP.

The DUP has reacted with fury to Mrs May’s proposed Brexit deal, with the party outraged at plans to shift Northern Ireland into a separate EU customs regime if the so-called ‘backstop’ provision ends up being used.

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The move has raised questions over the future of its confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Government, which was struck in the wake of the 2017 general election that cost Mrs May her Commons majority.

But the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said of the deal today: “It’s published and I’m not aware of any changes to its status.

“Members of the DUP have said it remains in place. “It is a deal between two parties, signed by the chief whips of both parties.”

They added: “As far as I’m aware all the votes that have taken place this week the government has won.”

Labour pounced on the DUP’s move last night, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell saying the Government was “falling apart in front of us”.

He said: “It’s absolutely staggering that the government has accepted all Labour amendments to the finance bill because it couldn’t rely upon the DUP’s support. The Tories are in office, but not in power.”

The DUP will gather for its annual conference this weekend.

In a sign of the pressure they are placing on the Prime Minister, delegates will hear from top Brexiteer Boris Johnson, who has been a frequent critic of Mrs May's plans for leaving the EU.