DUP insists it will defend Union in deal with Tories

Democratic Unionist Party politician Jeffrey Donaldson. Picture: Getty
Democratic Unionist Party politician Jeffrey Donaldson. Picture: Getty
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DUP chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson has vowed his party will “unashamedly promote the Union” as talks continue with Conservatives to give Theresa May a majority.

With the DUP expected to prop up the Prime Minister, and Nicola Sturgeon continuing her plans for another independence referendum, Donaldson underlined his party’s commitment to the United Kingdom.

Donaldson acknowledged that the talks were being conducted on a UK basis and are not specifically about Scotland.

But he added: “We will be defending the United Kingdom. We are Unionists at the end of the day, but we are dealing with national matters, not Scottish issues.

“But we are a Unionist party and at the end of the day we want what is best for the United Kingdom, including Scotland. We will unashamedly promote our Unionism.”

The SNP has deep reservations about the UK government working with the hardline Unionist party and yesterday called for any deal to be “transparent and open”.

The Prime Minister requires the support of the DUP’s ten MPs to get legislation through parliament. The details of a deal are not expected to be thrashed out before this week’s Queen’s Speech.

The DUP has indicated it will back the Queen’s Speech when it is heard in parliament on Wednesday.

Signs are that the DUP will seek extra cash for Northern Irish infrastructure projects, a demand which has led to SNP fears that other devolved nations in the UK could miss out on extra funding.

Under normal circumstances any increase in cash to Northern Ireland would be accompanied by similar injections to Scotland and Wales under the Barnett Formula, the mechanism that determines how much money devolved countries receive.

Sturgeon has also expressed her concern, claiming the DUP and UK government were heading for a “grubby deal”.

Even though the SNP has in the past talked about dealing with the DUP, Sturgeon said she was anxious about the impact an agreement would have on the Northern Irish peace process.

Deidre Brock, the SNP’s Northern Ireland spokesperson, said: “Any deal between a weakened Tory government and the DUP must be transparent and open.

“SNP MPs will always work with other parties in support of progressive policies across the UK but we will demand full scrutiny and transparency over any confidence and supply arrangement.

“On issues affecting Scotland such as the impact of the threat to the Barnett formula, SNP MPs will fight for Scotland to get every penny that Scotland is entitled to. However, this will be the first real test of other MPs from Scotland to see if they have the guts to do the same.”