Northern Irish DUP party fires warning shot at UK PM May

Jo Johnson is joining a pro Remain faction in the Commons

Jo Johnson is joining a pro Remain faction in the Commons

Under the terms of the DUP's arrangement with May's Conservative party, the Northern Irish party has agreed to back May's government on, among other things, "the budget; finance bills; money bills".

"We already know that Article 50 can be revoked with the agreement of the other European Union countries".

Brexit-backing ministers want her to press for clarity on how the United Kingdom can even do away with the backstop, which would see the nation remain in the customs union for a period after 2020, until an alternative is found.

The case has gained new importance because of the possibility of "no Brexit" as admitted by the Prime Minister last week. European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has revealed the contents of the provisional deal, which included agreements on citizens' rights, London's financial settlement, future trade relations, transitional period in the London-Brussels relations and the Irish border issue, among other things.

"So to that extent, it is not a draft text, it's now the text, and it is not going to be reopened".

The differences in opinion between the DUP and the government have put the confidence and supply pact the parties share under significant strain.

"The Government will require DUP support to deliver its domestic agenda".

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In a sign that the Government is seeking to keep its arrangement with the DUP alive, Chancellor Philip Hammond is also expected to attend the gathering in Belfast, according to Co Fermanagh newspaper the Impartial Reporter. But on Monday, the DUP abstained on the first two votes on the Finance Bill, and eight DUP lawmakers voted against the government in a third vote, on an amendment to the bill proposed by the opposition Labour party.

The DUP may have given the Prime Minister a political headache, but she appears to have averted an immediate challenge to her position from Tory critics.

It comes after a week of cabinet resignations and plotting to try and oust her through attempts to trigger a confidence vote.

The DUP's warning will dampen May's confidence, which was growing after an attempted coup by the hard-Brexit-supporting faction, the European Research Group (ERG), began to stutter.

But MPs would then stare into the "abyss", she said, recognise that a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster and another referendum too risky, and would then approve the deal - perhaps slightly modified - when brought back to them a second time.

"You find MPs privately who will say to you they think that is a really good idea in any number and I would be quite surprised", he said.

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