EXCL Paddy Ashdown launches fierce attack on Tories over 'bloody stupid' DUP deal
Paddy Ashdown has accused Theresa May of betraying the traditions of the Conservative party by entering into a “discreditable and demeaning” deal with the DUP.
The former Liberal Democrat leader said the confidence-and-supply arrangement, secured to prop up the minority Tory government, was “bloody stupid”, “degrading” and “idiotic”.
Last week the Prime Minister and Arlene Foster signed an agreement which will see the DUP back the Tories in key votes in return for an extra £1bn for Northern Ireland. It meant the 10 DUP MPs supported the Queen's Speech in the House of Commons last week.
Lord Ashdown also compared the Government to a “wounded, broken-backed animal” that needed to be put out of its misery.
He told The House magazine: “I don't think we know what will bring this Government down but I think it is broken, wounded, it can't even exercise control over its own Cabinet let alone anything else.
“All the signs are that there will be some event, some moment that will arise when something we cannot see will simply do away with them. And the Ulstermen will want something that can't be given and then we'll just regard it as an act of kindness to put down this miserable wounded, broken-backed animal that shouldn't be in charge of the country.”
He said the “extreme right” Conservatives had entered into partnership with the “extreme right” DUP.
“I think it's bloody stupid and idiotic,” the peer said.
“I remember Jim Callaghan saying 'you never bring the Ulstermen into government' and there's a good reason for that. I think it demeans the Tory party, I think it's degrading for them to do so.
“I think it's damaging for the peace in Ireland, I cannot think of a single aspect of it that's good, expect I suppose a Tory party that's moved to the extreme right and is now in policy terms indistinguishable from Ukip will find it congenial to team up with another group of people from the extreme right.
“I think it's a discreditable and demeaning act for a great party to take. They didn't need to do it, they could have run a minority government quite easily and the truth is, although there was a technical majority that could have been assembled against that, it never would have been assembled and they would have been far better to do that.”