BREXIT SHOCK: DUP could be handed ‘MILLIONS’ to back May’s deal

The Prime Minister is plotting to put her divorce deal to MPs for a third time next week in a last gasp effort to avoid a lengthy Brexit delay. However, Mrs May knows she is set for another humiliating defeat unless she persuade Brexiteers to support her. Number 10 believes DUP backing is key to changing the minds of members of the influential eurosceptic European Research Group which has so far emphatically rejected the deal over the controversial backstop.

Yesterday, top DUP officials held talks with senior Cabinet members including Philip Hammond.

The Chancellor’s involvement in discussions suggested Mrs May was prepared to give millions more in funding to Northern Ireland.

However, the DUP has refused to move unless it can be convinced on legal assurances that Northern Ireland will not be kept in EU economic mechanisms while the rest of the UK leaves.

Mrs May gave the DUP £1 billion in exchange for its 10 MPs propping up her government in a confidence and supply agreement after the 2017 general election.

Nigel Dodds, the party’s Westminster leader, denied there had been any talks about further “cash” but government sources hinted Theresa May could offer money at a later stage of talks.

Mr Dodds said he held “a long series of discussion with a series of Cabinet ministers” in which there was “constructive dialogue”.

Also present in the meeting was Mrs May’s deputy David Lidington, Leave campaign leader and environment secretary Michael Gove and chief whip Julian Smith.

He added: “For us the key problem with the Withdrawal Agreement is the backstop, the fact that it poses the danger of separating Northern Ireland out from the rest of the United Kingdom while we are in the backstop, and also the potential for leaving Northern Ireland behind in single market regulations and the customs union if the rest of the United Kingdom went its own way in the future.

“Our focus has always been, from way back in December 2017, through all of our discussions, on how can we ensure that Northern Ireland leaves the European Union with the rest of the United Kingdom as one country.

Ministers are confident the DUP can be brought on board but Mr Dodds said nothing had been agreed yet.

He added: “We don’t want to leave without a deal.

“But a lot will depend in terms of what the government is able to do in terms of providing those guarantee that are necessary to assuage our concerns.”


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.