Farage to DUP?

Nigel Farage is in Belfast today attending a DUP fundraiser alongside Arron Banks. Banks didn’t rule out Farage doing an Enoch and defecting to the DUP:

“I would discount nothing, I would include nothing.”

Guido will believe it when they release the Brexit movie

UPDATE: As expected:

 

Tories Optimistic They Have Numbers For Boundaries Vote

Guido hears Number 10 are increasingly optimistic that they have the numbers to proceed with boundary reforms which would cut the number of MPs to 600 and reduce the electoral bias towards Labour. The DUP have softened their opposition to the proposals, with their MPs apparently convinced they won’t lose their seats and may even be able to remove independent Sylvia Hermon. Nigel Dodds is less keen and still fears the reforms could reduce unionist representation. The DUP’s dilemma has been whether to back boundary reform, reduce Corbyn’s chances of becoming PM but risk weakening their position in Northern Ireland, or oppose it and risk handing two Irish republicans the keys to Number 10 and 11. The Tories think a new map presented in January should be enough to convince the DUP to get onside. As one minister puts it: “The fate of the next Prime Minister relies on Nigel Dodds’ vanity…”

Ian Paisley Jnr Reads Out Guido’s Story on Labour’s Brexit Positions

Another happy reader

DUP: Northern Ireland Must Leave EU on Same Terms As Rest of UK

As of 2pm it looks like the UK has agreed to “regulatory alignment” on both sides of the Irish border, a compromise which is not the same as no divergence between Northern Ireland and the EU. The DUP are clear Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK and they will not accept being separated economically from the rest of the UK. Lot of noise from Sturgeon and Remainers today. But all eyes are on the DUP and Cabinet Brexiteers when the formal statement comes later…

“Arlene Foster the Most Expensive Right-Winger Since Cristiano Ronaldo”

He plays more on the left these days…

Nigel Dodds Threatens to Publish Labour’s 2010 and 2015 Correspondence With DUP

Well this would be a lot of fun at the expense of hypocritical Labour MPs this afternoon. Go on Nigel, you know you want to…

Cameroons Disagree on DUP

David Cameron tweeted his endorsement of Theresa May’s deal, ordering Tory MPs to get behind the PM:

Seems Dave’s old team didn’t get the memo. Here’s George Osborne’s front page:

Guido can give you Photoshop lessons, George. Meanwhile Cameron’s old comms chief Craig Oliver is also slagging off the arrangement:

Not listening to the boss anymore…

Labour Promised More Cash For Northern Ireland in 2010

Labour are complaining today that Northern Ireland should not get more funding than other parts of the UK and that May has given them a deal “to help her cling to power”.

“Where is the money for the Tory-DUP deal coming from? And, will all parts of the UK receive the much needed additional funding that Northern Ireland will get as part of the deal? This Tory-DUP deal is clearly not in the national interest but in May’s party’s interest to help her cling to power.”

Almost gotta admire the hypocrisy…

In 2010 Gordon Brown wrote to the DUP seeking a deal to help him cling to power. He guaranteed money for Northern Ireland and implied Northern Ireland would need more cash than the rest of the UK:

“I am writing to confirm my continued commitment to the block grant for Northern Ireland for the current financial year and to confirm the financial settlement for the budget of the newly established Department of Justice… As you know, I believe it is an imperative to stabilise the economic recovery in Northern Ireland…. I recognise that the legacy of the past will make this more difficult to achieve in the coming months than we may expect in other parts of the United Kingdom. This is a challenge we must all meet. The achievements made by you and the political leaders of Northern Ireland have been an example to us all. I remain firmly committed to doing all I can to support this momentous progress and you can count on my continued support.”

In 2015 Labour under Miliband did the same. Read Gordon’s letter to the DUP, there are lots of similarities with May’s words today…

Deal Done! May Hands DUP £1 Billion

Arlene Foster drives a hard bargain, especially considering the Tories didn’t need a formal deal for the government to survive. £ rising on the news…

UPDATE: You can download and read the deal in full here. Additional details of UK government financial support for Northern Ireland have also been released. It is intended to last for the entire length of the parliament…

UPDATE II: Key details:

+ £400m for Northern Ireland infrastructure

+ £150m for superfast broadband

+ £100m for immediate health and education pressures

+ £200m for health service transformation

+ £50m for mental health

+£100m for relieving deprivation

UPDATE III: TaxPayers’ Alliance slams the deal:

“Taxpayers resent politicians cooking up deals behind closed doors that invariably end with their cash being thrown wherever is politically advantageous rather than where it could be best spent. The unfair way in which money is allocated between the Home Nations has been clear for decades, best illustrated by the significantly higher levels of public spending in Scotland than in considerably poorer parts of England. But until there is a major decentralisation of tax raising powers, Westminster politicians will always have ultimate control of the purse strings and be able to dish out taxpayers’ cash in a way that benefits them more than the general public.”

DUP Talks Stall

Sky News quote DUP sources saying:

“The party can’t be taken for granted. Negotiations haven’t proceeded in a way that DUP would have expected.”

As Guido reported this morning, Tory MPs are increasingly concerned about the way May has handled the negotiations. Several MPs believe it is possible no deal will be struck. Which won’t stop the Queen’s Speech passing as the DUP would never bring down the government and allow Prime Minister Corbyn. But it would be another humiliation for May…

Tory MPs Unimpressed By May’s DUP Negotiating Skills

Tory MPs expected the PM to have a deal in place with the DUP well before tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, instead it has gone right to the wire. Nine days have passed since Downing Street erroneously announced a deal had been struck, only to have to clarify that it hadn’t. An announcement could finally come today, though there is growing unrest among Tory backbenchers about the way the negotiation has been handled…

By announcing from the offset that a deal would be made, Tory MPs believe the PM has allowed the DUP to hold her for ransom for all the bridges and roads they want, or else fail to reach a deal and look even more chaotic. Tory MPs say anyone with a basic understanding of Northern Ireland knows there is no way the DUP would bring down the government and allow Corbyn into Number 10. A formal deal they argue therefore isn’t a necessity, a Tory minority government would still be able to pass a Queen’s Speech without one. By putting all her cards on the table and pre-announcing her unequivocal desire for a deal before it had been negotiated, May handed the DUP all the negotiating power. As one Tory snarks, “Good thing we don’t have any other big negotiations coming up…”

Protesting Labour MPs Ignored Gordon and Ed’s DUP Dealings

Labour MPs held up “Drop the DUP Deal” posters outside parliament yesterday, protesting their stance on gay rights. Did they protest when Gordon Brown tried to do a deal with the DUP in 2010, or Ed Miliband in 2015? Confected outrage.

Labour Repeatedly Tried to Do Deals With the DUP

Labour have boarded the outrage bus over the Tories doing a deal with the “bigots and terrorist-sympathisers” in the DUP. They have some nerve…

In 2010 Labour tried to do a deal with the DUP. Gordon Brown wrote a letter to the DUP leader trying to buy his support. The then Northern Ireland Secretary Shawn Woodward worked on an “economic package” to secure DUP support. This morning Alastair Campbell said a deal with the DUP could undermine the peace process. On May 7, 2010, Campbell sat in a meeting where a Labour-DUP deal was proposed. Glorious hypocrisy from Bad Al…

Ed Miliband last night blasted the Tory-DUP deal as a “coalition of chaos”. Yvette Cooper this morning says it is “troubling“. Owen Jones says: “If Labour had ever done a deal with the DUP I would have been out there protesting it”. According to the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr, Miliband’s Labour also tried to do a deal with the DUP in 2015:

Don’t buy the rank hypocrisy of Labour’s faux outrage this morning…

H/T @wallaceme

UPDATE: Caroline Flint slaps down Yvette Cooper over her hypocrisy:

10 DUP Policies the Tories Should Adopt

The DUP manifesto is rather better in places than that Conservative manifesto:

The DUP pledged:

  1. To reduce the rate of Corporation Tax to at least 12.5%;
  2. To freeze then cut or abolish the TV licence and reform the BBC;
  3. To cut the VAT rate for tourism businesses;
  4. To introduce a Trade Accelerator Plan including an enhanced range of initiatives to help support both new and existing exporters to explore new markets;
  5. To abolish Air Passenger Duty;
  6. To establish low tax, deregulated Freeports in economically underdeveloped parts of the UK
  7. To reduce the number of Government Departments and reduce the number of Special Advisors;
  8. To introduce a Civil Service Voluntary Exit Scheme yielding annual savings of approximately £100 million;
  9. To create new trade, investment and innovation hubs in key global markets;
  10. To introduce alternative models of public sector service delivery such as increasing the use of social enterprises.

Guido for one welcomes the eleventh-hour entry of the DUP, our new political overlords…

Jim Shannon Ordered to Repay £14,000 Expenses

shannon

A hugely damning verdict from IPSA following their investigation into the expenses of DUP MP Jim Shannon. He has been ordered to pay back a massive £14,000 in staff mileage claims. Some choice findings:

“The records kept by the MP’s office are completely inadequate and make it impossible to conduct a viable external audit of the activities undertaken”

“The methods for the submission and collation of mileage claims by individual staff members are equally woeful.”

“the current situation is unsustainable, and Mr Shannon must engage with IPSA with a view to conducting a fundamental review of his constituency office management”

Read the findings hereAbout as harsh a condemnation as IPSA ever give…

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson Resigns

Arlene Foster becomes Acting First Minister. Developing…



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Jeremy Corbyn told by veteran Jewish MP Margaret Hodge…

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