Damian Green casts fresh doubt over Tory-DUP deal

Posted On: 
21st June 2017

Damian Green has suggested that a deal between the Conservatives and the DUP that would keep Theresa May in power may not be reached.

First Secretary of State Damian Green
Credit: 
PA Images

The First Secretary of State - effectively the Prime Minister's second in command - said it was possible the two sides “won’t be able to agree”.

Mrs May has been in talks to strike a so-called ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with the DUP after she lost her majority at the general election last week.

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Any such deal would see the 10 DUP MPs vote with the Tories on key legislative items in exchange for sweeteners such as funding boosts for Northern Ireland.

Downing Street originally suggested a deal would be imminent after Mrs May launched negotiations immediately after the election - but the two parties failed to hammer out an agreement ahead of the Queen’s Speech.

Mr Green put a further question mark over the deal this morning when asked if an arrangement was still possible.

"There is still the possibility, there is every possibility of a DUP deal. The talks have been taking place in a constructive way,” he told the Today programme.

"Clearly [we are] two political parties, we have some differences but we have a lot in common."

Mr Green’s comments come after the DUP hinted yesterday that the talks had stalled.

A party source said: "Negotiations haven't proceeded in a way that the DUP would have expected."

The source added that the DUP “can’t be taken for granted” and urged the Government to give the talks “greater focus”.

The lack of a deal after a week of negotiations marks a fresh headache for the Prime Minister, who was already forced to delay the Queen’s Speech by two days as the wrangling stretched on.

According to the BBC Downing Street remains hopeful that a deal could be done by Thursday - a claim the Northern Irish unionists dismissed.

It means Mrs May will be unveiling the Queen’s Speech as a minority government and has until next Tuesday and Wednesday until crucial votes on the Government’s legislative programme to settle an arrangement.

If she loses any of the votes it would be an effective vote of no confidence which could throw the already deeply unstable Government into turmoil.