DUP confirms it will back Theresa May in confidence vote if Brexit bill voted down

Written by Kevin Schofield on 6 December 2018 in News

Theresa May could survive no-confidence vote after DUP pledge to suuport her if her Brexit deal falls

Theresa May and Arlene Foster - Dominic Lipinski/PA

The DUP would support the Government in a vote of confidence if Theresa May's Brexit deal is defeated, it has emerged.

Nigel Dodds set out the party's position during talks with leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

According to Holyrood's sister site PoliticsHome, the DUP decided to make their intentions clear after Tory whips warned their MPs that the Northern Irish party could side with Labour if the Brexit deal is rejected by the Commons and a confidence vote is called.

Rees-Mogg announced the move at a meeting of the European Research Group, which he chairs, and which was also attended by Chief Whip Julian Smith.

The DUP would only consider ditching its confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives if the Brexit deal was passed, Rees-Mogg said.

A DUP source said: "Some people were wandering around trying to influence a few Tory MPs to vote for Theresa May's deal by telling them the DUP wouldn't support the Government in a confidence vote.

"We want to make it clear that in circumstances where the withdrawal agreement is defeated, there's no reason for us not to support the Government because the Conservative Party will have fulfilled their side of the confidence and supply arrangement.

"But if the withdrawal agreement were passed, they would have breached the confidence and supply agreement and we would need to reassess matters."

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that members of the Privy Council have been invited by the Prime Minister to a briefing by the Government's civil contingencies secretariat - which is responsible for emergency planning - on the potential impact of leaving the EU without a deal.

The private briefings will take place in Committee Room A of the Cabinet Office at 12.30 and 5.30 tomorrow afternoon, and are part of May's attempts to persuade MPs to back her deal.

An ERG source said: "This is outrageous bollocks, and a gross abuse of serious people. Using the Cabinet Office’s CCS to try and spook grandees is pure Bullshit Theatre."

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