May's Conservatives sign power deal with Northern Ireland's DUP

Claudine Rigal
Juin 26, 2017

The DUP has 10 out of Parliament's 650 MPs.

The leader of a Northern Ireland-based party struck a 1.5 billion pound ($1.9 billion) deal with British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives on Monday to support her minority government in a crucial vote on her legislative package later this week.

In return, the United Kingdom government has pledged an extra £1 billion ($1.2bn) investment over the next two years from the British government, in addition to £500 million ($600m) already committed.

The deal says the Conservative party will "never be neutral in expressing its support" for the Union but will "govern in the interests of all parts of the community" in Northern Ireland.

A document released as part of the deal, UK Government financial support for Northern Ireland, states that the UK Government supports further cooperation with the Northern Ireland Executive on infrastructure development.

"We also share the desire to ensure a strong government, able to put through its program and provide for issues like the Brexit negotiations, but also national security issues", May said after the deal was signed.

Northern Ireland's political parties are still locked in negotiations to form a semi-autonomous power-sharing executive for the province, almost four months after local elections there.

The deal comes almost three weeks after the general election resulted in May losing her majority and a hung Parliament, as reported in The Planner.

The DUP said that it would back the government in any confidence votes and to pass budgets, as well as supporting it on Brexit-related legislation. The DUP has previously claimed the covenant has not been fully implemented in Northern Ireland.

"Today we have reached an agreement with the Conservative Party on support for government in Parliament", Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster said from Downing Street in London.

May's relying on the DUP to stay in power has been criticised for potentially putting the British government on one side of the power-sharing agreement.

The deal could act as an incentive for Northern Ireland's political parties to return to the country's Parliament after months of deadlock over the power-sharing assembly.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Government has agreed to guarantee that cash support for Northern Irish farming will continue at the same level until the end of the Parliament in 2022, as the United Kingdom goes through Brexit.

After each parliamentary session, the Conservatives and DUP will review the aims, principles and implementation of the agreement.

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