Tag Archives: DUP

New power-sharing deal restores NI devolution – in order to quit Johnson’s UK?

Devolution: The Tories will be quick to celebrate the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. Has it not occurred to any of them that the Northern Irish hate Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and now want to quit the UK altogether?

At long last – three years since the ‘Cash for Ash’ scandal that ended the last Northern Ireland power-sharing deal, it seems MLAs are returning to Stormont.

The new power-sharing deal means devolved government in Northern Ireland will resume.

According to Boris Johnson:

Do you think he hasn’t realised that they’re all getting back together in order to take NI out of the UK?

What would be really damning is if they decided they won’t even reunify with the Republic.

Source: Stormont talks: Main NI parties agree power-sharing deal – BBC News

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Bid to halt NI abortion law change fails. How will Boris Johnson get the DUP on-side for his Brexit now?

How interesting – last week we were told Boris Johnson’s government was working hard to get the devolved government in Northern Ireland working again, to bribe the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) into supporting his Brexit deal.

The idea was that, as the DUP is firmly opposed to the legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland – which will happen by law after the Westminster government supported it and could only be stopped if the Stormont assembly voted to do so, then the Stormont assembly must be restored.

It seems clear that attempts were made to facilitate this, but it was impossible for MLAs to agree on the election of a speaker so the attempt failed.

Now it seems Mr Johnson has no way of getting the DUP to support his deal, other than by making concessions.

Or will Arlene Foster’s party have a miraculous conversion to his way of thinking?

A last ditch attempt at the Stormont assembly to stop abortion law changes in Northern Ireland has failed, with the law set to change at midnight.

Unionist parties, who oppose the upcoming liberalisation, triggered the assembly’s recall with a petition.

But politicians were told the assembly could not do any business until a speaker was elected with cross-community backing.

That became impossible when the nationalist SDLP left the chamber.

As a result no nationalist representatives remained, meaning no new speaker could be elected and the sitting was suspended after less than an hour.

In July, MPs at Westminster passed legislation which requires the government to change abortion laws and extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland if devolution is not restored by 21 October.

Source: Abortion: NI politicians’ bid to halt law changes fails – BBC News

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Is Boris Johnson using abortion rights to bribe the DUP into supporting his Brexit deal?

Boris Johnson: The right of women in Northern Ireland to get an abortion if they need it is nothing to do with him – so it is entirely possible that he will cancel it to get his Brexit deal.

Without the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party supporting his new Brexit deal, Boris Johnson will lose the Parliamentary vote on it tomorrow. So is he bribing Arlene Foster’s group?

The DUP is known to oppose the new legislation championed by Labour MP Stella Creasy to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland. That change will happen in March 2020 – but only if devolved government in Northern Ireland has not been restored by October 21 – Monday.

Abortion law is a devolved matter but the Northern Irish assembly in Stormont collapsed in January 2017 and the Conservative government has shown little interest in restoring it.

Until now. It seems the government is ramping up efforts to restore the power-sharing devolved government, ending the chance to extend abortion rights into NI.

So it seems the Tories will sell out women across an entire country of the UK to pass its Brexit deal in the most squalid way possible.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of using abortion rights in Northern Ireland as ‘bargaining chip’ to get DUP to back Brexit deal | The Independent

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The DUP wants to know if the Tory magic money tree is paying out again. Will it?

Arlene Foster: A Tory-supporting Twitter troll may be keen to say there’s no “magic money tree” but she’s determined to get as much out of it as she can.

It’s very funny. Hours after I received this tweet…

… I was reminded of an article stating the following:

The Democratic Unionist Party will demand more cash in “the coming weeks” to continue propping up the Conservatives in power, in an early warning to Boris Johnson.

Arlene Foster revealed she spoke with the incoming prime minister soon after his victory was declared – and that she immediately put him on notice.

The DUP leader noted that the £1bn-plus confidence and supply agreement – signed with Theresa May, to deliver her a Commons majority two years ago – “remains”.

But she added: “That agreement included a review between each parliamentary session.

“This will take place over the coming weeks and will explore the policy priorities of both parties for the next parliamentary session.”

The DUP is widely expected to demand an even higher price to renew the agreement, as well as action to thwart prosecutions of soldiers investigated for alleged wrongdoing during the Troubles.

I wonder if the troll running the @NIGELPETERMOOR1 Twitter account (apparently on behalf of South Cambridgeshire Conservative Association) considered the stupidity of an anti-Labour tweet claiming the “magic money tree” doesn’t exist, just as the Tories are being asked to shake it and see what falls out.

As ever, under a Tory government, it seems plenty of money is available for some things – like propping up that Tory government and giving free money to people who are already rich.

But when it comes to actually improving living conditions for the millions of people who live in the UK, they begrudge every penny spent and would take it away if they could.

Will this Twitter troll make that point to @BorisJohnson or is he just another keyboard warrior whistling in the wind?

Source: DUP to demand more cash for propping up Tories ‘in coming weeks’ in early warning to Boris Johnson | The Independent

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The DUP’s £1 billion ‘bung’ is doing Northern Ireland no good at all

Kiss of death: This is a mock-up, of course, but the relationship between the Conservatives and the Northern Irish DUP is harming the smaller party.

What a stroke of genius for Theresa May – she bribed the DUP to support her minority government at a time when the £1 billion on offer cannot be used to help the people of Northern Ireland.

Claudia Wood’s piece in The Guardian makes it abundantly clear that cash should be going into Northern Ireland’s health and education services – but isn’t.

She states:

A three-week wait for a routine GP appointment isn’t unusual. Hospital referrals are much worse – the 18-week targets English hospitals may miss by a week or two are the stuff of dreams over here, where waits for up to four years (yes, years) for first outpatient appointments are not uncommon. About a third of all patients wait longer than a year and even urgent health consultations have a two-year waiting list in the worst areas.

With fewer than 2 million people living in Northern Ireland, schools are closing because they can’t attract enough pupils. The schools that do have enough pupils to stay open are withering on the vine, with half estimated to be running a deficit this year and some asking parents to donate stationery and toilet rolls.

The money isn’t being sent where it is needed and the reason is simple:

Northern Ireland is also short of a government.

The DUP’s £1bn is being allocated by officials according to designated pots set out in the agreement to prop up the Conservative government in Westminster, but in the absence of ministerial sign-off, big budget items are being tied up.

Popular protests have taken place under the slogan “We deserve better” – and have gone unheard. The DUP has failed to reach a new power-sharing agreement with Sinn Fein, so Northern Ireland limps on with no government.

What will this do for the DUP at the next general election?

Who will support a party that secured a huge amount of money for Northern Ireland, then refused point-blank to take the steps needed to use it in a constructive way?

Unless Arlene Foster changes her mind and concludes a new agreement to get Stormont up and running properly again very soon, she could face annihilation in the next poll, much as the Liberal Democrats did in 2015, after their five years of collaboration with the Conservatives.

It seems the Tories cannot avoid harming their allies.


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May running scared from debate shows even SHE has no confidence in herself

December 17 was a big day in the House of Commons.

Theresa May turned up to report her pathetic – miserable? Abject? – failure to bring back anything useful from her meetings with EU leaders last week over her Brexit deal (in fact she ended up with less security than when she left the UK).

Jeremy Corbyn told her to stop hanging about and set a date for the delayed “meaningful vote”, in which Parliament can provide its verdict on the deal, demand changes, and even delay the UK’s departure from the EU, if it is deemed necessary in order to get an acceptable agreement.

Mrs May said it would happen on January 14, nearly a month from now and five weeks after the date originally set for the vote (which Mrs May called off when she realised she didn’t have a chance of winning it).

Mr Corbyn said, “I should bleedin’ cocoa,” or words to that effect, and tabled a motion of “no confidence” in Mrs May. And didn’t she look old, when he was doing it? Tired out; defeated … I wouldn’t be surprised if she resigned.

In her immediate response, though, Mrs May… ran away.

She scuttled out of the House of Commons like a scalded rat.

Subsequent developments suggest she cleared off to get legal advice on reasons to deny Mr Corbyn his debate (the government may refuse to allow a debate and vote on his motion, although a good reason is expected).

Before she responded – not in person, of course; she got some flunky to do it – both the Democratic Unionist Party (which had been propping up Mrs May’s minority government until its MPs realised she had double-crossed him over the Irish border ‘backstop’ arrangement) and Jacob Rees-Mogg, spokesman for the Tory backbench European Research Group (who had demanded his own vote of “no confidence” – in Mrs May’s leadership of the Conservative Party because he didn’t like her Brexit deal either) declared that Mrs May had their full support.

This means the DUP is now a gang of hypocrites who have betrayed their voters by supporting a deal that could lead to Northern Ireland quitting the UK and rejoining the Irish Republic…

… and the ERG, along with any other Tories who voted against Mrs May but planned to support her in Mr Corbyn’s vote, are also a gang of hypocrites because they actually voted to remove Mrs May from office, less than a week ago.

To quote the (soon-to-be-former?) prime minister herself, nothing has changed – so the 117 Tories who voted against her have no reason to change their minds.

(That’s unless you count the fact that Brexit is due to happen right before a new EU law comes into force that penalises tax evaders and Mrs May’s plans ensure that it won’t apply to the UK – although the reason they might want to get out of the bloc before falling under the jurisdiction of such legislation just… I don’t know… escapes me.)

Late in the evening, Mrs May’s flunky turned up with an excuse to deny Mr Corbyn his vote of “no confidence” in Mrs May.

No sweat. It seems Mr Corbyn intended to escalate his motion to “no confidence” to one in the government if the government blocked his motion against Mrs May – for obvious reasons.

As it is, he was pre-empted by the leaders of the other opposition parties. They wanted to make Labour look bad for failing to demand a vote of “no confidence” against the government in the first place (even though such a vote would have been lost; the motion against Mrs May had to come first, because it puts the screws on the other MPs who had turned on her).

Oh yeah, and the Tory-supporting mass media have been pretending that those other opposition leaders are right, in a desperate bid to stop Mrs May and her Brexit deal looking like what they are.

Apparently someone on Newsnight didn’t get the memo and called them for what they are.

So at start of play on Tuesday:

  • The DUP have been outed as hypocrites for supporting Mrs May in spite of that party’s own policies.
  • The ERG has been outed as hypocrites for supporting Mrs May in spite of her failure to give them any of the assurances they wanted.
  • The Tory backbenchers who voted against Mrs May last week will be hypocrites if they don’t vote against her in whatever “no confidence” motion actually happens.
  • The leaders of the opposition parties that aren’t Labour are hypocrites because they have been briefing against Mr Corbyn for failing to call a “confidence” motion against Mrs May’s government that they know can’t be won on its own; the people mentioned immediately above had to be reminded of their own behaviour first.
  • The Tory-supporting mainstream media are a very poor joke.
  • Mr Corbyn is golden.
  • And Theresa May is toast. It is clear that she does not have the confidence of the House of Commons; otherwise she would have allowed MPs to discuss the motion of “no confidence” in her.

I can’t wait for whatever happens next. If someone calls Mr Corbyn an anti-Semite again, we’ll know they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.

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Seven things we learned from Theresa May’s ‘confidence’ vote

Theresa May: Thanks to Conservative MPs, we’ve all been stuck with lame duck for Christmas. And we’ll all be stuffed!

Theresa May – now a lame duck prime minister – hauled herself out onto the steps of 10 Downing Street to make a statement after winning a ‘confidence’ vote in her leadership, held by Conservative MPs.

It wasn’t convincing – but then, neither was her victory. She won by a margin of just 83 votes. Of those who voted for her, 139 were members of the government and were voting to keep themselves in higher-paying jobs. She had support from only around one-third of backbenchers.

And support for her Brexit deal in Parliament can be seen to stand at just 200 votes – although this may change, depending on the corruptibility of MPs’ opinions.

Here’s Graham Brady, announcing the result, followed by Mrs May’s statement:

https://twitter.com/rosskempsell/status/1072967308849676300

So what have we learned from the vote? Consider the following:

1. Mrs May gained four votes fewer than Margaret Thatcher in 1990. Thatcher resigned, but May has said she is determined to continue*.

The vote shows fewer Tory backbenchers support Mrs May than supported John Major when he faced a confidence vote.

By the way, the ConservativeHome website conducted a snap survey of party members that revealed two-thirds of them want Mrs May replaced as leader:

https://twitter.com/Ollie4themany/status/1072960620205670405

2. She only won the votes she had by promising to resign before the next general election*, which suggests that far fewer Tory MPs have real confidence in her leadership than was demonstrated by the result of the ballot.

3. She restored the party whip to two MPs who had been suspended because of sexual misconduct – and allegations of the same. This shows she remains capable of huge failures of judgement.

4. Her Brexit deal is dead; she can only muster 200 votes for it, from among 650 MPs.

… Or is it? Remember, Tories are notorious for lying and going back on their claims. Mrs May has a little time with which to bribe her rebellious backbenchers.

On the other hand…

5. Brexiters in the Conservative Party are a bunch of hypocrites.

But this does not help Mrs May as they oppose her. Mr Rees-Mogg has already stated that he hopes Mrs May will resign:

6. She has given the Democratic Unionist Party another reason to ditch the ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement that keeps her government in office.

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1072966961624219656

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1072959949205061632

Add it all together and there’s only one conclusion possible:

7. Winning the confidence vote was the worst result Mrs May could have had.

It will be interesting to see if she does bring her deal back to Parliament next week.

If not, the result will be worse for her.

*I know: What Mrs May says and what she does are two separate things. We’ll have to see whether this is yet another of the lies for which this clergyman’s daughter has now become notorious.

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DUP-licity? Northern Irish party flip-flops back to supporting Theresa May. So what?

They’re together again, it seems: The on-again, off-again romance between the Tories and the DUP seems to be back on – but does it make a difference?

It seemed – on Monday – that the game was up for Theresa May and her Tory government.

Not only did she lose vote after vote in the House of Commons, but it seemed her allies in the Democratic Unionist Party had switched loyalties to Jeremy Corbyn, in frustration with her policy failure on the Northern Irish border.

Then, suddenly, the DUP’s leaders seem to have changed their minds. It seems they have flip-flopped back into supporting Mrs May:

Why?

Twitter has been abuzz with theories:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1070417178242023426

If you’ve understood all of the above, then it should be clear that the DUP’s change doesn’t actually make a lot of difference.

The Grieve amendment puts power to affect the UK’s policy on Brexit back in the hands of Parliament, rather than allowing Mrs May’s government carte blanche to do what it likes.

It means that, when she loses the vote over her fatally-flawed Brexit deal with the EU, Parliament may direct the government to take any of several possible choices – including going back to the people for another referendum.

There are only 10 DUP members of Parliament. Many more members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party support Brexit and don’t want to see a second referendum.

When the government is defeated in the Brexit vote, the very next decision the Commons will have to make is whether they have confidence in Mrs May’s government. This is where the DUP’s support had been considered vital.

But if the continuation of Mrs May’s government means a chance of a second referendum, it is possible that her own backbenchers may rebel, and bring her down – simply to ensure that Brexit isn’t stopped by the will of the people.

It would then be up to a future government – possibly a Labour government – to sort out the mess.

So it seems Conservative MPs could end up voting for a Labour government.

These are twisted times.

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Labour to table ‘no confidence’ motion on the government – but will it work?

Theresa May: Calls for her to quit are mounting up.

Are enough MPs so disillusioned with Theresa May’s Conservative government that they want it replaced? Labour is gambling that they are.

The party has announced its intention to table a ‘no confidence’ vote on December 11, immediately after the government loses the vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

She is expected to lose the vote by an extremely wide margin.

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1069576261180301312

The result of the vote on the Brexit deal seems a certainty – especially after Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox committed contempt of Parliament on Monday (December 3) by denying MPs access to important legal documents that informed Mrs May’s decision to go through with this deal.

But the result of a “no confidence” vote is far less sure. Consider this:

Will the DUP support the Tories, though? Marcus thinks so, for the following reason:

But Tory Brexit doesn’t give them what they want for Northern Ireland, and that’s a deal-breaker.

Also, there’s the matter of what, exactly, MPs are being asked:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1069607723149508609

Mrs May has made it painfully clear that she won’t re-negotiate her deal, so if the DUP supports her government, it will only be to vote down that deal again, most probably in the New Year.

And then we would be back in the same situation we have now, with even less time until the deadline for leaving the EU.

Bear in mind that all other Opposition parties are certain to vote against the Conservatives. The DUP are pivotal.

In such conditions, they’ll be courted by everybody and can have – as Marcus described it – “all their Christmases at once”, no matter who they support.

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The end of the affair – and does it also herald the fall of a government?

Partners no more? Theresa May (left) with Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP, in happier times.

When the Conservative Party announced its marriage of convenience to the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, many of us had tears in our eyes.

We were upset that Theresa May had found some stooges who were willing to prop up a minority Conservative government for the sake of a large bung – £1 billion, almost half of which has been delivered – and we were weeping for the future of the country we love.

The honeymoon period – in which we watched the DUP supporting the Tories’ terrible policies time and time again – was bitterly uncomfortable, and no doubt many of us wondered if we would be able to stomach it for the full five-year term of current Tory governments.

Fortunately, it seems unlikely that we will have to put up with it that long.

And it was the Conservative Party – the partner that needed the alliance to succeed – that was unfaithful.

Theresa May ran off to the EU and promised that Brexit would include a deal on the Northern Irish border that the DUP could not tolerate, as it allots special treatment to NI that is not afforded to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Either she had not mentioned it, or she thought she didn’t need to do so, because Tories have such a monumental sense of entitlement that she probably thought the DUP was lucky to be in a “confidence and supply” deal with her.

That was a huge mistake, and a sign that Mrs May doesn’t know her history, which shows that Hell hath no fury like an Irishwoman scorned.

Yesterday evening (November 19), Arlene Foster’s followers in Westminster pointed this out to Mrs May – by abstaining on Budget votes, and actually supporting the Labour Party on one amendment.

It isn’t the end of the deal between the Tories and the DUP – to continue the marriage metaphor, it’s the equivalent of a slighted partner making their displeasure felt and warning that worse may follow if the other partner doesn’t get back in line.

None of the votes had a serious effect on the Conservatives because they did not have financial consequences for the government.

But the message is clear: The deal with the EU, as agreed by Mrs May, is unacceptable to the DUP and the government will lose its Parliamentary majority – and therefore its ability to function – if the prime minister refuses to change it.

Now for the important part: This puts Mrs May in an impossible position.

The EU will not accept changes to the deal, and it seems unlikely that it will be possible to negotiate a new agreement before the UK decouples from that bloc on March 29 next year.

But the alternative is an effective vote of “no confidence” in the Conservatives’ ability to govern, which traditionally leads to the resignation of the government and the main Opposition party taking office.

The current Tory government is an unscrupulous crowd, and may refuse to honour that convention – but the alternative is powerlessness. What will Mrs May do?

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