Sinn Fein says DUP, May deal a 'blank cheque' for damaging Brexit

Claudine Rigal
Juin 26, 2017

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster, right, outside 10 Downing Street in London, Monday June 26, 2017.

"Today's deal represents a straight bung to keep a weak prime minister and a faltering government in office", a tersely-worded statement from his office said.

The centrepiece of the deal is a £1.5bn package of public spending for Northern Ireland, £1bn of it new money, in return for DUP support for May's minority Tory government in parliamentary votes of confidence or supply.

May was forced to seek their support after her Conservative Party's majority was wiped out in an election earlier this month.

Mrs Foster said: "We're delighted that we have reached this agreement, which I think works, obviously, for national stability".

Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones reacted furiously to news the agreement - which includes £1 billion in new funding for Northern Ireland - would not result in a knock-on funding boost for other parts of the UK.

"With 13 MPs fighting Scotland's corner from within the party of government, rather than the SNP which will only ever vote against Conservative budgets in the Commons - we can get more done and deliver for Scotland".

Discussions between the Conservatives and the DUP began immediately after the election, stirring up further resentment against embattled May.

However, the two parties have stopped short of forming a full coalition, as the Conservatives did with the Liberal Democrats in 2010.

It means the eurosceptic DUP will back Britain's departure from the European Union amid concerns that Northern Ireland will be the region most vulnerable economically to Brexit because of its close trade links to the Republic of Ireland.

Under the terms of the agreement, Northern Ireland will receive an extra £1 billion from the state over two years in exchange for DUP supporting May's Conservatives.

The agreement was vital for May to be able to pass the comprehensive legislation needed over the next two years as the United Kingdom exits the EU.

"The document outlines projects like the York Street interchange".

- Recognising the longstanding focus on securing a modern, sustainable health service in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom government will allocate 100 million pounds per year for two years to support health service transformation.

Speaking after signing the agreement Prime Minister Theresa May said the deal was a "very, very good one".

The support of the DUP will give her an effective working majority of 13, given that Sinn Fein do not take up their seven seats and Speaker John Bercow and his three deputies - two of whom are Labour MPs - do not take part in votes.

The Northern Irish party, socially conservative and largely Protestant, has 10 members of Parliament.

Regarding the financial cost for the taxpayer, the BBC have reported that the DUP has secured an agreement that will see improvements for the treatment of military veterans in Northern Ireland.

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