UK PM May strikes $1.3 billion deal to
get Northern Irish DUP support for her government
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[June 26, 2017]
By Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister
Theresa May struck a deal on Monday to prop up her minority government
by agreeing to 1 billion pounds($1.3 billion) in extra funding for
Northern Ireland in return for the support of the province's biggest
Talks had dragged on for more than two weeks after May lost her majority
in parliament on June 8 with a failed gamble on a snap election
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and its 10 lawmakers will now
support May's Conservatives in key votes to keep the government in
power, although not as a coalition.
There has been some concern among lawmakers about the deal because of
the fragile peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
May and DUP leader Arlene Foster presided at the signing of a deal at
Downing Street. They smiled and joked as negotiators from both sides,
the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson and the Conservatives' Gavin Williamson
signed the deal that will run for the life of the current parliament due
to end in 2022.
"I welcome this agreement which will enable us to work together in the
interest of the whole United Kingdom, give us the certainty we require
as we embark on our departure from the European Union, and help us build
a stronger and fairer society at home," May said in a statement.
As part of the deal, May agreed to increase spending in the province by
1 billion pounds ($1.27 billion) over two years while the DUP agreed to
support May on her budget, Brexit laws, national security and her
overall legislative plan.
"Today we have reached an agreement with the Conservative Party on
support for government in parliament," DUP leader Arlene Foster said in
Downing Street. "This agreement will operate to deliver a stable
government in the United Kingdom's national interest at this vital
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Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, shakes hands with Democratic
Unionist Party (DUP) Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, in Downing Street,
in central London, Britain June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Neil hall
A deal allows May to pass in the 650-seat parliament, and stay in
power as she attempts to negotiate Britain's exit from the European
But May's position remains insecure. Her Brexit strategy is under
scrutiny and her future as prime minister is the subject of public
Some senior Conservatives have voiced unease at a deal with the DUP,
saying it could put at risk the 1998 peace settlement in Northern
Ireland, known as the Good Friday Agreement. Foster said a deal with
May could help drive a second deal on power sharing in the province.
Northern Ireland has been in crisis since Sinn Fein pulled out of
government in January, prompting an election in March and a series
of missed deadlines to restore the compulsory coalition between
Irish Catholic nationalists and pro-British Protestant unionists.
The latest deadline set by the British government for the parties in
Northern Ireland to reach an agreement is Thursday. Sinn Fein said
last week that "time was running out" given the lack of knowledge
about the impact of any Conservative/DUP deal.
"Time is running short for the parties to come together and reach
agreement to re-establish a power-sharing," May said. "Northern
Ireland needs a functioning devolved government at this important
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Padraic Halpin/Jeremy
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