Brexiteers have been given a boost after the DUP’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, stated that the party’s 10 Members of Parliament will back the Theresa May’s plans to leave both the single market and customs union.
The Sun has revealed that the Ulster Unionists will back a ‘hard Brexit’ plan to leave the single market, despite concerns over the impact it would have on the frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The prime minister is seeking a ‘supply and confidence’ arrangement with the DUP, where they support the government in parliamentary votes, such as the Queen’s speech, the budget and the final Brexit deal.
It was assumed, in Westminster, that negotiations would be swift as the DUP had already supported the Conservatives on many occasions since 2010, but no official deal has been made yet and the government has been forced to delay the Queen’s speech as a result.
But yesterday, Theresa May unexpectedly set a deadline for negotiations between the government and the DUP by stating that the Queen’s speech will go ahead on Wednesday, regardless of whether they have a deal or not.
The deadline announcement has been seen by some as the prime minister calling the DUP’s bluff, as she knows they’d never allow Sinn Fein-supporting Jeremy Corbyn to walk into number 10, and would inevitably accept what’s on the table. Others suggest it could backfire, resulting in the Queen’s speech being rejected by the Commons.
But sources close to the prime minister have said she’s not worried about the DUP, and is certain that a deal will be struck between her party and the unionists.