Brexit: ‘No vote’ on deal this week without DUP and ERG support

DUP says talks with UK government are focusing on legal assurances and not cash

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, with fellow MP Emma Little-Pengelly, after speaking to the media outside the Cabinet Office. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, with fellow MP Emma Little-Pengelly, after speaking to the media outside the Cabinet Office. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters


Theresa May will not put her Brexit deal to a vote at Westminster this week unless the DUP and hard-line Conservative Brexiteers agree to support it, two of her top ministers have warned.

Chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond and international trade secretary Liam Fox said there would be no point in bringing the deal back for a third vote unless the government was confident of winning.

“We’re not just going to keep presenting it if we haven’t moved the dial. But what’s happened since last Tuesday is that a significant number of colleagues, including some very prominent ones who’ve gone public, have changed their view on this and decided that the alternatives are so unpalatable to them that they, on reflection, think that the prime minister’s deal is the best way to deliver Brexit,” Mr Hammond told the BBC.

MPs voted last week to delay Brexit by three months if the House of Commons approves the deal by Wednesday. But Mrs May warned that failure to endorse the deal this week could lead to a much longer delay of anything between nine and 21 months.

Talks between the DUP and the UK government are expected to continue on Monday following lengthy meetings during the past few days.

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The DUP is seeking legal assurances about the temporary nature of the Northern Irish backstop and guarantees from London that regulations in the North will not be allowed to diverge further from the rest of the UK without the approval of the Stormont institutions.

The party has insisted that it is not talking about “cash” but Mr Hammond declined three times to rule out extra money for Northern Ireland if the DUP backs the deal.

“This isn’t about money. It’s about a political assurance,” he said. “We are coming up to a spending review and we will have to look at all budgets, including devolved block-grant budgets.

“We hope that once we’ve got Brexit dealt with, we will be able to resume the powersharing executive in Northern Ireland, and then of course we will need to look at the spending review.”

Labour stance

Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday that Labour would support an amendment that would approve Mrs May’s Brexit deal on condition that it could not be implemented without being endorsed in a confirmatory referendum. But he suggested that if the amendment passed, Labour would still vote against the Brexit deal itself in the main motion.

“We’re not supporting Theresa May’s deal at all, because we think it’s a blindfold Brexit, which would do enormous damage to our economy,” he told Sky News.

In Brussels on Sunday, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that if the UK were to seek a lengthy extension, it should be accompanied by a re-evaluation by London of its Brexit approach.

Speaking in Chicago at the weekend, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he would be meeting European Council president Donald Tusk in Dublin on Tuesday, followed by a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“At the Cabinet meeting, we will be in a position to sign off on a package of support for business, for farmers, for the agri-food sector, for exporters, for anyone who may be adversely affected by a no-deal Brexit,” he said. “Obviously we are hoping that the deal will be ratified by the House of Commons before then, but if it is not, we are ready.”


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