DUP set to aban­don ‘du­plic­i­tous’ May after Brexit vote, claims Tory MP

Party claimed to want Prime Min­is­ter’s ‘head on a plate’ Sug­ges­tion events of next week could lead to gen­eral elec­tion

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS West­min­ster Cor­re­spon­dent

Con­ser­va­tive MPS be­lieve the DUP will aban­don Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May in a con­fi­dence­mo­tion­afternex­tweek’s cru­cial Brexit vote be­cause they see her as “du­plic­i­tous”.

One Tory MP said: “The DUP want her head on a plate.”

It comes as Mrs May’s deputy, David Lid­ing­ton, in­sist- ed the con­fi­dence and sup­ply agree­ment with the DUP re­mains in place de­spite the party’s ten MPS fail­ing to back the govern­ment in cru­cial re­cent votes.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s one­time al­lies in the DUP have said they will vote down her Brexit deal on Tues­day, and will only sup­port her in a vote to col­lapse the govern­ment if the deal fails.

“They see her as du­plic­i­tous,” one Con­ser­va­tive MP said, adding that they be­lieved events next week could lead to a snap gen­eral elec­tion.

An­other Tory MP sug­gested the con­fi­dence and sup­ply agree­ment with the DUP had been fa­tally dam­aged by the North­ern Ir­ish party’s sup­port for a mo­tion of con­tempt over Brexit le­gal ad­vice.

“I don’t see how it can sur­vive the DUP sup­port­ing the con­tempt mo­tion,” the MP said.

Mr Lid­ing­ton vis­ited north Belfast yes­ter­day to sell the Prime Min­is­ter’s Brexit deal and said he had re­ceived as­sur­ances of sup­port from a se­nior mem­ber of the Demo­cratic Union­ists within the last 24 hours.

DUP leader Ar­lene Fos­ter has said a Com­mons amend­ment sup­ported by back­bench Tories giv­ing Par­lia­ment a say on in­vok­ing the Ir­ish bor­der back­stop does not go far enough, adding that do­mes­tic “tin­ker­ing” to the With­drawal Agree­ment would not per­suade her party’s ten MPS to back the govern­ment.

Mr Lid­ing­ton said: “The DUP have made it clear that they see the con­fi­dence and sup­ply agree­ment as con­tin­u­ing.

“As with any mi­nor­ity govern­ment there are go­ing to be squalls and dif­fi­cul­ties in a Par­lia­ment where the govern­ment does not have an au­to­matic ma­jor­ity in ei­ther House, but that is not some­thing new to British his­tory.”

The par­lia­men­tary arith­metic is against the govern­ment ahead of next week’s with­drawal treaty vote.

Fol­low­ing an amend­ment, Par­lia­ment would de­cide whether to trig­ger the back­stop ar­range­ment or ex­tend the tran­si­tion pe­riod be­yond De­cem­ber 2020.

Mr Lid­ing­ton said MPS have a pub­lic duty to act in the na­tional in­ter­est. “The choices are not go­ing to go away as a con­se­quence of post­pon­ing the vote,” he said.

“Theeu­ro­pean­com­mis­sion, the pres­i­dent of France, the chan­cel­lor of Ger­many, other lead­ers, have all said, very plainly, this is the deal that is avail­able. So they are not go­ing to move, so the choice be­comes if not this deal, what else?”

With the Com­mons vote on Mrs May’s With­drawal Agree­ment ex­pected to re­sult in it be­ing re­jected by MPS, the risk of a no-deal Brexit could in­crease.

For­mer for­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son said the Brexit deal ob­tained from Brus­sels by Mrs May is sim­i­lar to the con­di­tions that might be im­posed on the de­feated side in a war.

As the Prime Min­is­ter sent se­nior col­leagues out around the coun­try to sell her deal, Mr John­son re­peated his call for MPS to throw it out in the Com­mons vote.

The Prime Min­is­ter was com­ing un­der grow­ing pres­sure to de­lay the 11 De­cem­ber vote to give her­self time to ask for more con­ces­sions from the EU at a Brus­sels sum­mit at the end of next week.

With three days of the five­day de­bate com­plete, anal­y­sis showed that of 163 MPS who have spo­ken, just 27 have in­di­cated they will back Mrs May’s deal com­pared with 122 – in­clud­ing 29 Tories – who will vote against.

A anti-brexit pro­tester stands out­side West­min­ster yes­ter­day

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