How we use Cookies

Theresa May's DUP deal gives us a government 'more extreme than UKIP'

Theresa May is criticised for attempting to do a deal with the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party in order to stay in power.

Theresa May has been accused of giving the UK a Government “more extreme than UKIP ” by doing a deal with the DUP.

Mrs May, the Prime Minister, is attempting to agree a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which won ten seats in Northern Ireland in last week’s general election.

Between them, the DUP MPs and the 318 Conservatives elected last week make up a majority of MPs in the House of Commons. It means a deal could allow Mrs May to govern the country and win key Commons votes.

But the DUP holds views which are at odds with the mainstream political parties in the rest of the UK, including opposition to same-sex marriage and to abortion.

Birmingham Mail
Jess Phillips on election night

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said: “For the DUP to be holding power in Westminster is a slap in the face."

She said the DUP were similar to UKIP, a party that failed to win a single seat in last week's election.

“As UKIP died away we’ve got something much more extreme.

“People definitely didn’t vote for UKIP, did they?

“But what we’ve got is more UKIP than UKIP.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster is to meet Theresa May in London today for talks.

The party only stands for election in Northern Ireland. It was led for many years by Ian Paisley, the firebrand loyalist politician who was accused of sectarianism and anti-Catholic bias but became a champion of the peace process in later life.

There is also concern that Mrs May’s planned deal with the DUP could threaten peace in Northern Ireland, as the Government could no longer claim to be impartial between the unionist community which the DUP represents and the the republican and nationalist community.

However, the DUP also oppose austerity and benefit cuts such as the bedroom tax, so they could actually force the Conservatives to soften their position on those issues.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Ms Phillips also said she did not agree with people who argue that the election result demonstrated that the country was opposed to Conservative plans for a “hard Brexit”.

She said: “I had to incite people to talk about Brexit. It wasn’t something people naturally chatted to me about.

“My team spoke to 9,000 people in four weeks and we had to bring Brexit up.

“I really think this was more about people’s everyday lives.

“They talked about their kids’ schools, the NHS and housing.”

Ms Phillips had been one of a number of Labour MPs who criticised party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the past.

Birmingham Mail
Jeremy Corbyn at his packed out pre-election rally in Birmingham

But she said Mr Corbyn’s critics had to accept they were at least partly wrong, after Labour gained 30 seats in last week’s poll.

She said: “Obviously they got is slightly wrong.

“The Labour Party didn’t win the general election and we musn’t go around acting like we did.

“But there was a group-think that meant we got it wildly wrong.”

She added: “I am willing to say that I got his electability wrong, obviously.

“I’m willing to stand up and say sorry for that.

“But I’m not willing to say that some of the things I had concerns about previously will just disappear.

“But that’s not a Jeremy Corbyn thing. I don’t blindly follow anyone. never have, never will.”

Comments

Journalists

Graeme Brown
Editor (Agenda and Business)
Enda Mullen
Business Reporter
Tamlyn Jones
Business Reporter
Neil Elkes
Local Government Correspondent
Emma McKinney
Education Correspondent
Ben Hurst
News Editor
Jonathan Walker
Political Editor