Thursday 19 September 2019

Foster to 'review' Tory support after crucial vote by MPs

Over the line: British Prime Minister Theresa May walks past the EU flag at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels yesterday. Photo: Alastair Grant
Over the line: British Prime Minister Theresa May walks past the EU flag at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels yesterday. Photo: Alastair Grant

Mark Edwards and David Young

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said her party will "review" the confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative Party if Theresa May's Brexit deal passes parliament.

Ms Foster, appearing on BBC's 'The Andrew Marr Show' the day after the DUP conference in Belfast, said there were no circumstances under which her party would support the current deal.

"There is very much a border down the Irish Sea as a result of this and that's why we can't support this deal," she said.

The MLA said the DUP's confidence and supply agreement with the Conservatives remained "live" but again warned her party would "review" the arrangement if the Brexit deal gained parliamentary support. But she stopped short of saying she would definitely end the relationship with the Tories in those circumstances.

"We have to see where we are when that vote is taken," she said.

Asked if she would support the prime minister if a parliamentary defeat triggered a confidence vote in the government, Ms Foster added: "We will have to see what happens at that time. I think this last couple of weeks should tell all of us that you shouldn't jump ahead of ourselves.

"What we should do is wait to see what develops in that respect."

The DUP leader insisted it was not a choice between Mrs May's deal or no deal.

"I believe we should use the time now to look for a third way, a different way, a better way," Ms Foster said.

Meanwhile, Mrs May warned MPs from all parties they will lose their seats if they ignore the will of their constituents by voting down her Brexit deal.

After European leaders rubber-stamped the deal in Brussels yesterday, the UK prime minister insisted it represented a final offer that could not be renegotiated.

She warned that she had no "Plan B" if the deal was rejected.

More than 90 Conservative MPs have publicly stated that they intend to vote against the deal, with Labour also insisting its MPs will be instructed to oppose it.

Unless Mrs May can change enough MPs' minds, she is heading for a parliamentary defeat on the deal when it is put to a vote next month.

Mrs May has failed to convince her critics that her deal cannot be improved, but yesterday she played on their fears by hammering home the point that voters in Leave-supporting constituencies will not forgive their MPs if they scupper Brexit.

Irish Independent

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