Con – DUP Supply and Confidence deal should get the UK through Brexit, but what about Stormont?

So the deal is done! (Thanks, Andy.) Welcome to confidence and supply politics, mam… As anticipated, the DUP’s end of the bargain seems pretty watertight in terms of granting the government some stability over the medium to long term…

So what are they getting for this? Well, outside these conditions, a free hand to fall out with the government and force divisions as they see fit. There will be no local pressure in the chamber since all nationalist seats are now abstaining.

There will also be a “coordination committee” to manage disputes and departures between the parties. Crucially, the DUP will not be on the hook for whatever an enthusiastically zealously reforming Tory Minister fancies doing (like the Lib Dems).

And there’s a promise of £1 Billion of new money, which according to the BBC will be part of a package that provides the following:

  • Health: A minimum of £250m, with £200m directed to health service transformation and £50m towards mental health provision. It will also receive £50m to “address immediate pressures”
  • Education: £50m to “address immediate pressures”
  • Infrastructure: £400m for projects including delivery the York Street Interchange, plus £150m to provide ultra-fast broadband across Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s capital budget is currently about £1bn per year.
  • Deprivation: £100m over five years targeted to deprived communities
  • VAT and Air Passenger Duty tax: Agreed to further consultation
  • Corporation tax: Agreed to work towards devolving the tax to Stormont
  • City deals and Enterprise Zones: Agreed to “comprehensive and ambitious set” of city deals and “limited number” of Enterprise Zones

That last may come down to just two, ie Belfast and Derry, although if the English model is to be implemented will be regional, ie broader than the current local authority areas. Why did it take so long? Here’s one reason…

But they will also they’ve won benefits for the broader UK…

The crucial thing from an NI perspective is that it is not narrowly targeted at one community or the other. As such it constitutes something of a virtuous entrapment to persuade Sinn Fein to come back from its current abstention from Stormont.

Will they bite? Sources in Belfast say they’ve been secretly briefed by the DUP all along. So the broad outline of the deal won’t displease them. There’s going to be money do something other than just cut stuff (anathema for a party trying to run as anti-austerity in the Republic).

As with all successful comedies, the secret of when the institutions restart may lie in the timing. The initial oral findings of the RHI has now been put back to October, so they’d be looking for flexibility from the British on that. Or, Step 14 in the Bullick Index:

Odd that after six months of near endless vilification of the DUP by their erstwhile partners in government, that the premier Unionist party should end up negotiating for them both.

Will Sinn Fein play ball? With an election expected in the south, I suspect they’d rather not have to go back to work in the north. It’s a drain on precious political capital and scarce resource that they could do without.

But that would entail turning their back on a deal, the local details of which are yet to be hammered out at Stormont.

  • John

    Get them through Brexit? Sure if Davis has policy documents and expert negotiating teams on Euratom. EU Family law for continued maintenance payments and child access under ECJ, air service agreements and safety standards, REACH for chemical standards x 100… that the UK is not Uganda to the rest of Europe after Brexit…and that’s even before trade and WTO etc .it’ll take a lot more than the sash wearing bonfire brigade to save May and her Brexit when reality gives her a slap in the face when this kicks off at the coalface…given that this is a group of people who could not put a single coherent manifesto of their own policies together.

  • chrisjones2

    SF doing a deal behind closed doors …with the DUP ….and the Tories


  • mickfealty

    Can you read the rules John? DUP have said arrangements are to be reviewed after two years (ie, after Article 50 has been safely triggered).

  • John

    What the DUP say is a little less relevant than what either Michel Barnier and Sabine Weyand’s team or Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives who can vote May down at will regardless of the DUP, say…that is the Realpolitik…the other Realpolitik is that apparently a week is long time in politics…so reviewed after two years?? Indeed,,

  • Zorin001

    Weren’t the triple lock and winter fuel payments practically dead in the water anyway no matter what happened with an agreement? Not sure the DUP claiming to come to the rescue of the poor and downtrodden of the UK rings true.

    Still pleased with the deal on the whole though, let’s just hope it is implemented fairly and appropriately (i.e.: no flight of fancy roads to nowhere)

  • mac tire

    “Not sure the DUP claiming to come to the rescue of the poor and downtrodden of the UK rings true.”

    It appears many in Britain are wondering how many disabled cuts will be needed to pay the DUP off. Here in the north we see it as money coming in (welcome as it is) but those across the water look at it as money leaving.
    Now that they realise there actually is a money tree, they are clambering for a piece of it.

    It is already being described as ‘investive corruption’, which “entails the offer
    of goods or services without a direct link to any particular
    favor at the present, but in anticipation of future situations
    when the favor may be required.”

    So, to many, they don’t see a rescue but a robbery. Unless the Tories hand over the keys to the gates of the money orchard this could prove fateful for them.

  • Nevin

    “There will also be a “coordination committee” to manage disputes and departures between the parties.”

    In furtherance of these arrangements, the Government and the DUP will work together to ensure the necessary support can be established by both parties to fulfil these arrangements. A co-ordination committee will be convened for this purpose, chaired by the Government. The parties will agree the modus operandi of this committee. The Northern Ireland Secretary will not sit on this committee.

    So the SoS will be neutral in our local ‘coordination committee’ – unlike Simon Coveney!

  • anne odling-smee

    Shared Future requiring knowledge and understanding of the ‘other’ seems a low priority for DUP and Theresa. The draw back of £500mpreviously allocated for Integrated and Shared Education and Shared Housing seems a retrograde step when segregation costs finacially,operationally and in terms of social cohesion. The time to apply for this money was comprimised by the fall of Stormont so the fact that only £3m had been spent is the excuse for the draw back. Stamp on those who want to mix. Keep to the traditional tramlines!

  • Madra Uisce

    What rules ? The ones that have been totally ignored on the thread posted by Chris Donnelly,those rules?

  • 1729torus

    Will they bite? Sources in Belfast say they’ve been secretly briefed by
    the DUP all along. So the broad outline of the deal won’t displease

    I’m surprised at how little attention is being paid to the fact that SF and the DUP have been in a semi-voluntary, if somewhat tempestuous, coalition since mid 2016.

  • Picalillishinpads

    Hello, i think you’ve hit the nail on the head there . After the last few weeks it’s rarely been more obvious that a serious amount of investment is needed nationally. The Tories will surely be punished severely at the next election, but if this doesn’t happen till we leave Europe on their terms then it seems to be a price many of them are happy to pay.


    “Will Sinn Fein play ball? With an election expected in the south, I suspect they’d rather not have to go back to work in the north. It’s a drain on precious political capital and scarce resource that they could do without.”

    I don’t buy this.

    SF’s ability to form a coalition in the south is inextricably intertwined with their being seen as upholders of the GFA by working the institutions in the north.

    Unless the DUP behave incredibly unreasonably, abstaining from the Assembly is detrimental to SF’s vote share and prospects of forming a coalition in ol’ dixie.

  • Nevin

    So what will Gerry and his ‘poppet’ do? Say NO?

  • DaptoDogs
  • chrisjones2

    Well we will see wont we ….

  • chrisjones2

    It appears that they have been kept on side and fully briefed throughout. Shackin isnt it

  • chrisjones2

    Those who called on SF to take seats in westminster to bring down the Tories may have been mistaken. Had they done so they may well have voted for Theresa

  • lizmcneill

    Yeah but for half that time Stormont has been collapsed.

  • Neil

    This is it. Republicans should not be complaining too much really. The cash for education and health has to be welcomed, but there’s always a cost. So what is it? The groups of people generally alienated by NI Unionists has expanded. The English are quite resentful already of the sums of money sent to Scotland, N Ireland and Wales, this will stick in people’s throats.

    SF may choose to stick to their guns, that Arlene is not taking the top job until the RHI inquiry is over. There are benefits there. Seemingly the money will be forthcoming anyway, the fact that Arlene is unable to take her seat because she has potentially already cost the UK taxpayer over 1 bn pounds (500 million of which is our money) will not look great in the UK press, they can focus their fire and their ground game towards the coming election in the south and further squeeze the lifeblood from their opponents – primarily the SDLP who are reduced to council duties. We’ll have to wait and see but it’s a possibility.

  • lizmcneill

    Wonder how the English will like having to replace regional development money from the EU?

  • Granni Trixie

    I have reconciliation concerns too. Wouldnt you think they would learn by mistakes?

  • Neil

    My twitter bubble suggests they aren’t liking any of this at all.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Hopefully make it clear to John O’Dowd that he now needs to stop going around saying “Give me one example of a situation when a party from the north taking its seats at Westminster made a difference to what happens in Ireland; just one example”.

  • mickfealty

    Heading over there now. And yes. Those rules. In my office, now!

  • Karl

    The opportunity cost of a billion quid to prop up the Tories isnt going down at all well in a country unused to the dirty / pragmatic dealings of minority governments.

  • ted hagan

    I can’t see how Sinn Fein can go back into the executive while the DUP and Conservatives are holding hands, money or no money. But there has to be an Irish Language act of some description. Forget about Arlene standing down.


    I am sure the next 5 years will be so successful the DUP will start running candidates in England.