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DUP abstain from crucial vote in ‘warning shot’ to May as PM vows to deliver Brexit

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The DUP has fired a “warning shot” at Theresa May as the prime minister said she was “determined” to deliver Brexit.

The Northern Irish party flexed its muscles by refusing to support a crucial government finance law.

It effectively breached the confidence and supply agreement keeping Mrs May’s government in power.

The deal binds 10 DUP MPs to “support the government on all motions of confidence; and on the Queen’s Speech; the budget; finance bills”.

The DUP's Arlene Foster is unhappy with draft deal
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The DUP’s Arlene Foster is unhappy with the draft Brexit divorce deal

A party source accused the prime minister of “acting cavalierly” and warned her not to expect “business as usual”.

They told Sky News: “The government have got to remember the confidence and supply agreement on the shared priorities of Brexit, which is control of borders, money and preservation of the union.

“They can’t act cavalierly and breach sections of the confidence and supply agreement and expect business as usual.”

The source added their abstaining on amendments to the new law, which will introduce tax and duty changes announced in the budget, was intended as a “warning shot”.



Theresa May told the CBI her draft deal will 'work for the UK'




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Brexit deal ‘will work for the UK’ – May

The DUP have been highly critical of the draft divorce deal published last week.

Chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson suggested earlier this month it was “not something we can support”.

Despite the pressure from the DUP and members of her own party piling on pressure by submitting “no confidence” letters, Mrs May has vowed to battle on.

She claimed that leaving the EU was “never going to be easy or straightforward”, particularly in the closing stages of negotiations.

“But we have in view a deal that will work for the UK,” Mrs May said in a speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference on Monday.

“And let no one be in any doubt, I am determined to deliver it.”

According to Sky News’ tally, 25 Conservatives MPs have said they have submitted letters calling for a confidence vote in the prime minister.

A total of 48 are needed, and the only person who knows the true number received is chair of the 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady.

The government also conceded to Labour MP Chuka Umunna’s bid to force it to publish analysis comparing the “costs and benefits” of current EU terms with its own plan, and a no deal divorce.

While senior Leave campaigning MPs headed to Downing Street for an hour-long meeting with Mrs May, to lobby her to change the draft deal before it is finalised.

Ahead of a summit on Sunday where EU leaders are set to sign off on the withdrawal agreement, both London and Brussels have been at pains to point out that it cannot be renegotiated.

Mrs May said the agreement had been “agreed in full” by both sides.

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