DUP pact with Tories hanging by a thread as it fails to back Government on key Budget votes

Posted On: 
20th November 2018

The DUP has delivered a stark warning to Theresa May after it failed to back the Government on a series of Budget votes.

Arlene Foster has urged Theresa May to go back to Brussels to renegotiate her deal

In an apparent break with the confidence and supply deal they struck with the Conservatives after the election, the Northern Irish unionist party abstained on a number of amendments to the Finance Bill.

And the DUP even voted with Labour on one amendment on child poverty, which the Government ended up winning by just five votes.

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Under ther terms of the pact they agreed with the Tories, the DUP is supposed to support the Government "on all motions of confidence; and on the Queen’s Speech; the Budget; finance bills".

But speaking last night, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the Prime Minister's proposed Brexit deal broke the "funamental" promise from Mrs May that Northern Ireland would not see any diveregence from the rest of the UK.

He told BBC’s Newsnight, he said: "We had to do something to show our displeasure. All of (the votes) were designed to send a message to the Government: ‘Look, we have got an agreement with you but you have got to keep your side of the bargain otherwise we don’t feel obliged to keep ours.’

"She has broken all of those promises – to the people of the United Kingdom, to her own party and to the people of Northern Ireland."

If her relationship with the DUP crumbles it would leave the Prime Minister leading a minority government and could leave her vulnerable to a vote of no confidence in the Commons.

The abstention came just hours after DUP leader Arlene Foster called on the Prime Minister to go back to the negotiating table with Brussels, saying that her claims that the only alternative was a no-deal Brexit was a “false choice.”

“I appreciated the concerns people have about a no deal by this should not be a binary choice,” she said. "It is absolutely clear that it is time to work for a better deal.”

Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “We no longer have a functioning government. With Brexit only a few months away something has got to give."