DUP would back vote – if May’s Brexit deal ditched

Western Daily Press - - Uk & World News - AN­DREW WOOD­COCK Press As­so­ci­a­tion

TORY re­sis­tance to Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been bol­stered after Euroscep­tics were warned that if the agree­ment goes through it could bring down the Gov­ern­ment.

DUP sup­port for Mrs May’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in any con­fi­dence mo­tion would de­pend on the deal be­ing de­feated or ditched by the Prime Min­is­ter.

The DUP’s 10 MPs would not back the Prime Min­is­ter if her Brexit deal, in­clud­ing the con­tro­ver­sial North­ern Ire­land back­stop mea­sure, sur­vives.

The po­si­tion means that Tory Euroscep­tics, who had feared de­feat for Mrs May’s deal in the crunch vote on De­cem­ber 11 could re­sult in the col­lapse of the Gov­ern­ment, may now feel em­bold­ened to vote against it.

Be­tween them the Con­ser­va­tives and DUP have the par­lia­men­tary num­bers to re­sist a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence.

The Prime Min­is­ter de­pends on the DUP for her Com­mons ma­jor­ity, but the union­ist party claims the With­drawal Agree­ment thrashed out with Brus­sels breaches the terms of the con­fi­dence and sup­ply deal struck with the To­ries.

Set­ting out his po­si­tion, the DUP’s West­min­ster leader Nigel Dodds said: “We will vote against her plan be­cause it is bad for the United King­dom, cer­tainly bad for North­ern Ire­land given the le­gal ad­vice that we have forced out of the Gov­ern­ment to­day.”

Labour has in­di­cated it will ta­ble a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the Prime Min­is­ter in the wake of a de­feat on such a piv­otal is­sue for Mrs May.

But Mr Dodds said that if the Brexit deal is de­feated it would be “some­what il­log­i­cal” – hav­ing seen off the With­drawal Agree­ment – “to turn around the next day and say ‘let’s vote the Gov­ern­ment out”’.

He warned there would be “im­pli­ca­tions” if Mrs May pushed ahead with her plan, telling ITV’s Pe­ston: “That’s the risk that the Prime Min­is­ter is run­ning.”

Even if there was not a gen­eral elec­tion, the lack of a ma­jor­ity would make it dif­fi­cult for the Con­ser­va­tives to get any leg­is­la­tion through Par­lia­ment - in­clud­ing the bill to im­ple­ment the Brexit deal.

The DUP’s po­si­tion was set out to Tory Brex­i­teers at a meet­ing of the Euro­pean Re­search Group (ERG), led by MP for North East Som­er­set Ja­cob Rees-Mogg.

Mr Rees-Mogg told the pri­vate meet­ing: “The DUP will sup­port the Gov­ern­ment in a con­fi­dence mo­tion if the With­drawal Agree­ment is voted down.

“But the risk of los­ing them and hav­ing an elec­tion is if the With­drawal Agree­ment goes through.”

In the lat­est in­di­ca­tion of Gov­ern­ment ef­forts to avoid a de­feat on De­cem­ber 11, Chief Whip Ju­lian Smith put in an ap­pear­ance at the meet­ing.

Sources at the ERG meet­ing de­scribed it as “full and frank” and “can­did”, with the Chief Whip left in no doubt about what would be re­quired to win over would-be rebels.

A Gov­ern­ment source said the Whips’ Of­fice and the Prime Min­is­ter were in “lis­ten­ing” mode and would do “as much as pos­si­ble” to get sup­port in “one of the big­gest votes in re­cent par­lia­men­tary his­tory”.

The source said min­is­ters were “look­ing at all op­tions to se­cure the vote”. But it is un­der­stood that no de­tailed pol­icy pro­pos­als were put for­ward by the Gov­ern­ment at the meet­ing.

One po­ten­tial mea­sure re­port­edly be­ing floated as a way to win over would-be rebels is a “par­lia­men­tary lock” which would give MPs a vote be­fore the North­ern Ir­ish back­stop is im­ple­mented.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May takes ques­tions yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.