Northern Ireland party leader in talks with Conservatives

Elias Hubbard
June 26, 2017

Speaking outside of Number 10, DUP leader Arlene Foster said the agreement will operate to deliver a "stable government in the United Kingdom's national interest at this vital time".

A deal between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party has been completed in order to support Theresa May's minority government.

Below is a breakdown of the planned investment agreed with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that May is prepared to fund through the province's power-sharing executive.

The deal will face its first test in parliament with a confidence vote expected on Thursday.

The fact that the deal commits a substantial amount of extra money to Northern Ireland for help with infrastructure, education and health services is likely to provoke protest from other regions that are also seeking more funding from the central government for a variety of programs. It would be impossible to govern if the Queen's Speech or Budget was voted down.

May was forced to seek their support after her Conservative Party's majority was wiped out in an election earlier this month.

- The UK government will allocate 200 million per year for two years and with sufficient flexibility as to the choice of project. "So the agreement we have come to is a very, very good one".

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said the agreement would "address the unique circumstances" of Northern Ireland. But the money for Northern Ireland is certain to raise questions amid budget shortages.

Northern Ireland is to receive extra financial support from the UK Government under the confidence and supply deal forged between the Conservatives and the DUP.

In a similar way, the formula did not apply to city deals in Scotland and Wales, or previous packages of support for Northern Ireland, a Number 10 source said.

Labour's Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale warned May against "weakening the bonds that unite the UK, and the Greens' Patrick Harvie called the deal "shameless".

"We know Northern Ireland has particular needs, because of its history and difficulties".

- The only project mentioned is the York Street interchange, a scheme that would replace a junction in Belfast linking three of the busiest roads in Northern Ireland.

A further £1bn has been allocated to infrastructure, health and education in Northern Ireland over the next two years, with the funding totalling £1.5bn, while the triple lock guarantee of 2.5 per cent spending on pensions in the United Kingdom will remain in place.

This may be uncharted territory for Foster and her party, but the former solicitor and veteran Northern Ireland assembly member is well versed in tough negotiations, and is no stranger to adversity.

"I want to personally thank the Prime Minister and her negotiating team for the spirit in which these discussions have been conducted". "It provides a blank check for a Tory Brexit which threatens the Good Friday Agreement".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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