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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

DUP fail to back Theresa May in finance bill votes

Northern Irish party had been critical of her Brexit draft agreement and had threatened to withdraw support

The DUP leader Arlene Foster, centre, has indicated her displeasure at the Brexit draft agreement. REUTERS
The DUP leader Arlene Foster, centre, has indicated her displeasure at the Brexit draft agreement. REUTERS

The small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party that supports British prime minister Theresa May’s government failed to back her in several votes on a finance bill on Monday after being critical of her draft Brexit deal.

Mrs May agreed a draft arrangement to leave the European Union last week, but DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that the Prime Minister should demand a better deal, arguing the current proposal could undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Under the terms of the DUP’s arrangement with Mrs May’s Conservative party, the Northern Irish party has agreed to back Mrs May’s government on, among other things, “the Budget; finance bills; money bills”.

But on Monday, the DUP abstained on the first two votes on the Finance Bill, and eight DUP politicians voted against the government in a third vote, on an amendment to the bill proposed by the opposition Labour party.

While the government still won the votes, commentators said that the move had a deeper significance given the tensions between the DUP and government.

“This is to put the government on warning that the party is close to ripping up the “confidence and supply” agreement that allows Theresa May to govern,” ITV political editor Robert Peston said in a tweet.

“This is a serious blow to the PM’s authority.”