Monday 24 July 2017

'We are no pushover' - very good chance of DUP deal with UK by next Thursday

The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster, and the Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, stand on the steps of 10 Downing Street before talks with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, in central London, Britain. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster, and the Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, stand on the steps of 10 Downing Street before talks with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, in central London, Britain. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Guy Faulconbridge

There is a very good chance that British Prime Minister Theresa May will strike a deal by next Thursday to get the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for her minority government, a senior DUP figure said.

When asked on BBC radio what the chances were of a deal by Thursday, DUP lawmaker Jeffrey Donaldson said: "I think very good." He added: "the sooner the better."

"The prime minister is moving this process, the agreement process, forward," Donaldson said. "She's engaged now and we welcome that and I think that since that has happened we have been moving forward."

"I'll say this about Ulster men and Ulster women, we are no pushover," he said.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Speaking on RTE radio this morning Mr Donaldson said there has been a "deeper engagement" in the past 24-hours allowing both parties to move closer to a deal.

He dismissed as "wildly inaccurate" reports that the DUP is seeking a deal worth £2bn.

While he would not put a figure on it he said the party is seeking investment in "infrastructure projects, health and education" and wants to see Northern Ireland "catch up" with the rest of the UK.

Brexit and the implications for Northern Ireland are a key focus for the talks he said adding that the DUP want to see a common travel area and a seamless border remain after Brexit.

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