Business Brexit

Sunday 16 December 2018

DUP will prop up Tories - but only if the Withdrawal Bill is defeated

  

DUP MP Sammy Wilson. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
DUP MP Sammy Wilson. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Harriet Lane

The DUP has said its confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives will be "finished" if the Brexit plan put forward by British Prime Minister Theresa May gets through the Commons.

However the party's Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, said the DUP's deal to prop up the minority Conservative government will continue if the Brexit plan is voted down.

In an interview with the Press Association, Mr Wilson said the "threat" to Northern Ireland would be removed if the deal was defeated, in which case the DUP would be "committed to supporting the government throughout the life of this parliament".

He dismissed suggestions his party would consider abandoning the government if there was a confidence vote, saying there would be "no reason" to support it if Mrs May's deal failed to get through the Commons.

Mr Wilson said: "Ironically, voting down a deal is probably more likely to ensure the confidence and supply arrangement goes on.

"It may well be that this could go through. If it goes through and she persists with this deal then the confidence and supply arrangement is finished, because we couldn't possibly support a Government that was persisting in breaking up the union.

"But our focus at the minute is on making sure that the deal doesn't go through, and if the deal doesn't go through, then the arrangements we would have with the Conservatives - well, why would we break it?"

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage has announced he is quitting Ukip.

The former leader said he had made the decision because he is uncomfortable with the direction the party has taken in recent months.

Writing in the 'Daily Telegraph', Mr Farage said: "And so, with a heavy heart, and after all my years of devotion to the party, I am leaving Ukip today.

"There is a huge space for a Brexit party in British politics, but it won't be filled by Ukip."

Mr Farage insisted Ukip had been successful in the past because it had a policy of "excluding extremists". The ex-leader said Ukip was becoming a party of "street activism".

Irish Independent

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