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Theresa May (left) with Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images].

It is impossible for an administration to claim it is financially responsible – let alone that it will balance the books – when it has based the alliance by which it is clinging to power on spending a huge amount of money, only to have its new ally demand the spending of a huge amount more.

The cash is available, of course – the National Insurance fund is billions of pounds in credit, or at least that is what we’re told. The Tories are staying very quiet about that, which implies that they have an underhand plan for it.

And it seems the vote will go in favour of the Opposition – unless the Tory rebels pull their usual trick of backing down at the last minute, because they don’t want their disloyalty to humiliate their party (real meaning: cowardice).

So Theresa May is on a triple-loser: Her deal with the DUP is brought into question; her party cannot be trusted to back her; and she will be defeated in Parliament and unable to push through her own policy programme.

Theresa May faces the humiliation of a Commons defeat, as the Democratic Unionist Party prepares to side with Labour in a debate on women’s state pensions.

A petition on the issue is on course to gain enough signatories to be debated in the Commons, but the DUP has said it will vote against the Conservatives if they continue to refuse “justice” for the women, who have been hit by sharp accelerations in the state pension age.

It will also pile pressure on the Tories to finally help the so-called “Waspi women” (Women Against State Pension Inequality), who have been forced to wait longer than expected to retire.

The Waspi campaign group say the women’s “retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences”, because of confusing retirement changes, and demand compensation in the petition.

DUP MPs have already joined with Labour by demanding transitional help, describing it as a “moral duty” in a parliamentary motion.

Now Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s work and pensions spokesman, has told The Independent: “We stand by our manifesto commitment that this issue needs to be dealt with.

“The Government cannot go on with delay and delay on this until the women do finally qualify for their pension – or they die off.”

The DUP would almost certainly back Labour if the vote was to provide transitional help for those forced to delay retirement, Mr Wilson added. Some Tory backbenchers could also rebel, in a showdown expected over the next couple of months – having publicly voiced support for the women.

Source: Government faces humiliation as DUP poised to side with Labour over women’s pensions


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