Northern Ireland

Tory-DUP deal is 'not temporary' says Nigel Dodds

Nigel Dodds
Image caption The DUP deputy leader made the comments during a fringe event at the Conservative conference in Manchester

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said his party's confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservative Party is not a temporary two-year deal.

He made the comments during a reception at the Conservative conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

The prime minister made a deal with the DUP after losing her majority in the general election in June.

Mr Dodds acknowledged that from time to time his party would have differences with the Conservatives in parliament.

However, he insisted that the Tory-DUP deal is strong and will last for the duration of this parliament.

In June, the DUP agreed to back the Conservatives in key votes - such as a Budget and a confidence motion - but are not tied into supporting them on other measures.

Mr Dodds said part of the confidence and supply arrangement is about ensuring the will of the people to leave the EU, as expressed in the Brexit referendum, is delivered in a timely and proper fashion.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption It is the first Conservative conference since the DUP-Tory pact was signed in June

'Non starter'

The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, responded to calls from Sinn Féin and others for Northern Ireland to remain in the European Single Market and Customs Union.

She joked that the DUP really believed in the Single Market, but that was the Single Market of the United Kingdom.

Mrs Foster said talk about Northern Ireland remaining in the EU and a new border being put down the middle of the Irish Sea is "a complete non starter".

Mrs Foster thanked Conservative activists in the packed room for their interest, revealing that the DUP website had 5.5m hits within six hours on the night of the general election after it emerged the party might play a pivotal role at Westminster.

The DUP reception was attended by a number of senior Conservatives including Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, Brexit Secretary David Davis, Conservative Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and the Conservative chairman, Sir Patrick McLoughlin.

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