Conservatives sign deal with DUP who will support May’s minority government

The agreement will see Theresa May's party pledge £1bn to Northern Ireland over the next two years - with the DUP's 10 MPs supporting all Tory motions

The Conservative party has reached an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which will see it support prime minister Theresa May’s minority government.

Announced over two weeks after the general election which resulted in a hung parliament, the “confidence and supply motion” will see May’s government given an effective working majority of 13.

As part of the deal, the Tories have pledged to give £1bn to Northern Ireland over the next two years, with the DUP’s 10 MPs agreeing to support all Conservative motions brought forward in parliament – such as the Budget and the Queen’s Speech on Thursday.

While the full details of the agreement are yet to be released, a three-page document outlines the “confidence and supply motion” which states that:

  • The DUP agrees to support the government on all motions put forward
  • The DUP shares the government’s priorities for negotiating an exit from the European Union and on national security
  • The government and the DUP share the belief that Northern Ireland is to remain within the United Kingdom
  • Both parties agree there will be no change to the Pensions Triple Lock and Winter Fuel Payment
  • Both parties agree to continue spending 2% of GDP on the armed forces

While the DUP has said this agreement will last for the lifetime of the parliament, the deal will be subject to review at the end of the current session in two years’ time.

During the Queen’s Speech last week, her Majesty set out the government’s plans on various issues such as Brexit, data security, transport and the wider economy.

Proposals, which will be voted on this week, have been described by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) as “paving the way for a pro-business Brexit”.

Now expected to be waved through by parliament, impending legislation includes:

  • An immigration bill which will control the number of people coming to the UK from Europe
  • A trade bill which will allow the UK to operate its own independent trade policy post-Brexit
  • A customs bill to ensure the UK has a standalone customs regime on exit
  • A fisheries bill ensuring the UK regains complete control of its waters
  • A Data Protection Bill, much like the GDPR, which will include the ‘right to be forgotten’
  • An abolition of Class Two National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from April 2018.
  • Building the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe
  • A Smart Meters Bill which will help roll-out more smart meters

May said: “We share many values in terms of wanting to see prosperity across the UK, the value of the union, the important bond between the different parts of the UK.

“We very much want to see that protected and enhanced and we also share the desire to ensure a strong government, able to put through its programme and provide for issues like the Brexit negotiations, but also national security issues.”

Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, said:

“This agreement will operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom’s national interest at this vital time.

“Throughout these discussions, our guiding principle has been our commitment to acting in the national interest in accordance with our shared objectives for strengthening and enhancing our precious Union.

“In concluding this wide-ranging agreement, we have done so on the basis of advancing the security of our nation, building prosperity for all and supporting an exit from the European Union that benefits all parts of the United Kingdom.

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