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Remember 42 days?

Mark Devenport | 10:36 UK time, Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The DUP saved Gordon Brown's skin and returned to Belfast in victorious mood. They deflected questions about the price they had set for their 9 votes. But they clearly believed their action would place them in an influential position, not least because the PM would require their support in the future as the 42 day measure promised to ping pong between the two Houses of Parliament.

Then Gordon Brown came to Stormont and, far from expressing his gratitude, he used his speech to rub the DUP's noses in Sinn Fein's line on the need for a date for devolving justice.

At a Labour conference fringe meeting, Jeffrey Donaldson sounded hurt about how the DUP had been treated.

At theTory conference, Mr Donaldson had to deal with Conservatives who retained vivid memories of Iris Robinson holding up 9 fingers to symbolise the votes which propped up the government.

Then last night, in these changing economic times, the Home Secretary let the 42 day measure drop after its resounding defeat in the House of Lords.

The DUP, of course, insist they voted on principle. Maybe they got some other assurance which they are still keeping in their back pocket. But if they had hoped to cash their cheque on this matter at a later date they may find that it has just bounced.


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