Kate Hoey to Vote DUP

Speaking to LBC’s Iain Dale last night, the former Vauxhall MP and Labour Leaver declared that she will be voting in Northern Ireland – for the DUP…

This ends speculation that Kate might have been about to become the fourth former Labour MP to announce she’ll be voting for Boris – after this supportive Tweet:

Significant that she has chosen to not vote for the Labour Remainer successor in Vauxhall…

DUP Opposition to Boris’ Deal Making English Less Likely to Support the Union

New Polling seen by Global Britain has shown that if the DUP continue to not support Boris’s deal, English voters will be significantly less likely to support Northern Ireland staying in the UK. If the Brexit process is delayed again, the DUP will be losing English good will to keep Northern Ireland in the UK…

The DUP’s position makes 28% of English voters less likely to support unionism, and just 10% more likely to support it, meaning the DUP are weakening unionism on the mainland by net 18%. Remarkably this is the case among both Remainers (Net -1) and Leavers (Net -31). It would be ironic the DUP ened up bringing about the end of the union…

DUP Reject Boris’s Proposals

After a long week’s negotiations, the DUP have released a statement saying that, as things stand, they cannot support Boris’s proposed deal on customs, consent and VAT. Whilst the statement might make gloomy reading for those willing a deal over the line, it is noticeable the DUP’s talk of red lines being crossed has been scrapped, as has any call for total rejection. Looks like the sticking point is their fear Sinn Fein would have too much say over being able to leave the new customs arrangement…

The question now remains over what will happen at the EU Council Meeting this morning, where the agenda’s first item of a Brexit deal indicated – before the DUP’s rejection – white smoke.

The DUP could teach the Donald a few things about how to do “the deal”… still think that we should have let them negotiate the Brexit deal directly…

DUP’s Policy Director Hints at Boris Bridge Support

This morning it has been reported Boris is proposing a new 12-mile bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland to mitigate the backstop. Days since last Boris bridge suggestion: 0

The DUP believes such an infrastructure project could help solve  a “major positive impact on both countries economically”. And could act as a big bung to keep them on side during tricky EU negotiations…

Fuelling speculation that the ambitious project may be imminent, the DUP’s Director of Policy, Lee Reynolds, Tweeted the link to a BBC News article about an even longer bridge entitled “China opens ‘longest’ sea bridge”. Good to see the DUP and Number 10 once again engineering civility…

Hunt Announces First Cabinet Pick: Karen Bradley

Last night Jeremy Hunt told an audience in Northern Ireland that he would keep Karen Bradley as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Bradley, a May loyalist, is widely understood to not be liked by the DUP. Frosty relations on that front are not wise when the current Tory-DUP majority in the Commons is just three votes. It’s also highly unusual to openly promise jobs in the middle of a campaign. Will Hunt be publicly appointing the rest of his fantasy cabinet over the next few weeks..?

Two-Thirds of Britons Don’t Care About the Union

Given how the DUP and the UUP got less than 400,000 votes combined it is amazing that so few people have had so much political power over the destiny of the 66 million or so that did not vote for them. Even more so when – based on the latest polling from Ipsos-MORI – 40 million or so Britons don’t really care about the union with Northern Ireland. In fact 10 million or so Britons would rather Northern Ireland joined the Republic of Ireland…

Not only did the DUP put the kibosh on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, in Cabinet yesterday one of the strongest arguments advanced against ‘No Deal’ was that it would trigger the conditions in which under the Good Friday Agreement the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would be obliged to call a border poll. Which is unacceptable to the DUP. The DUP’s leverage over the government has blocked Brexiting with May’s deal and with ‘No Deal’.

Rees-Mogg: I Won’t Back the Deal Unless the DUP are on Board

Theresa May’s promise to step down last night if the deal passes looks to have unlocked substantially more support for the deal – a clear majority of the ERG have now come over including big beasts Boris and IDS – although a hard core of around 20-30 diggers-in remains. They are “still looking for a ditch in which to die”, in the words of one MP there…

May’s biggest hurdle now is the DUP, who put out a fresh statement last night confirming they still could not support the deal, before Nigel Dodds brutally put down any suggestion that they could abstain instead of voting against it:

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has now been branded everything from “traitor” to “eurofederalist” after saying it’s May’s deal or no Brexit on Monday, reiterated his position on Peston last night that he will still vote against the deal unless the DUP are on board. However, he does suggest how domestic law could be used to address the DUP’s concerns. Will it be enough? We’ll find out soon enough…

UPDATE: It’s still a no from the DUP according to Laura Kuenssberg “For avoidance of doubt, DUP will vote against agreement tomorrow, party source says”

 

Hammond Refuses to Rule Out More Cash For DUP Support

Hammond repeatedly refuses to rule out the DUP “delivering again” for Northern Ireland. Of course the cash will be going to Northern Ireland itself, not the DUP. Not that it will stop metropolitan elite commentators from sneering at one of the UK’s most underinvested regions getting a boost…

DUP: We Want a Deal

Nigel Dodds and the DUP have been in intense meetings with senior mininsters including Michael Gove, David Lidington, Julian Smith, Mark Sedwill, and Philip Hammond. Dodds described them as “good discussions” and said that “we want to leave with a deal”…

DUP Attack The Times Story Claiming They Are ‘Edging Towards Customs Union’

DUP leader Arlene Foster has taken the unusual step of putting out a formal statement rebutting The Times story this morning which claimed that the DUP are “edg[ing] towards customs union”. Foster attacks it as “inaccurate” and “no doubt designed to undermine efforts to get the necessary changes to the Withdrawal Agreement”.

She dismisses the story “as an attempt to cause division”, adding that “such tactics are not new to us and as in the past will not succeed”. Robust…

DUP: EU’s “Meaningless” Letter Only “Bolsters Our Concerns”

Theresa May’s letter of reassurance from the EU has gone down like a lead balloon with the DUP, who have dismissed it as “meaningless” without legally binding changes and said that in fact it “bolsters our concerns” about the backstop. Nigel Dodds even hit out at May directly over comments she made about Northern Ireland’s position in the UK, calling on her to “cease from such foolish talk”. Not looking good for May’s hopes of using a DUP reversal as a catalyst to get other Brexiteers back on board…

Number 10’s DUP Charm Offensive Falls Flat

Number 10’s DUP charm offensive appears to have fallen flat, with DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds releasing a statement following lunch with the PM today, confirming that in his party’s view May’s deal still “flies in the face of the Government’s commitments on Northern Ireland”. Dodds also hit out at “nonsense propaganda” about a hard border, arguing that it was “becoming clearer by the day that no one is ever going to construct a border”. He’s not wrong.

Downing Street have been focusing their efforts on the DUP in the hope that moderate Tory Brexiteers will fall into line if the DUP’s concerns over the backstop are assuaged. That is not going to happen without legal changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop in particular. Not how Downing Street wanted to start off the year…

DUP: We’d “Rather Be Shafted By Labour” Than Accept Backstop

Tory MPs turned out in force for last night’s weekly ERG meeting, with around 80 MPs in attendance as well as notable guests including Chief Whip Julian Smith and May’s Deputy Chief of Staff, JoJo Penn. Jacob Rees-Mogg informed the ERG of the outcome of his and Steve Baker’s earlier meeting with Nigel Dodds, where Dodds made clear that the DUP would support the Government in any confidence motion if the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected. If the Withdrawal Agreement went through their support was far from certain…

Also in attendance were DUP MPs Sammy Wilson – who was “cheered to the rafters” by Tory MPs – and Ian Paisley Jr, who made the point directly to Julian Smith’s face that while the DUP had been very happy working with the Tories, they would “rather be shafted by Labour” than accept the backstop. As Dodds pointed out later on Peston, you don’t need a General Election to bring down a government:

Smith himself addressed the meeting later on, while he didn’t get a hostile reception from the ERG, his points were all shot down in the detail. Smith suggested that some tinkering was possible but gave an impression of a government that was reluctant to ask EU member states for any further changes. The overall message remained clear: it’s the PM’s deal or nothing, the Government has no other plans. And they wonder why the EU has been able to play them like a fiddle from start to finish…

Boris Johnson’s Speech to the DUP

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Arlene: DUP’s Brexit Red Lines are “Blood Red”

 

Theresa May’s attempts at a further climbdown over the Irish border have run into trouble both among Brexiteers in her own party and her DUP allies. Her new proposal reported yesterday would see the whole UK remaining in the customs union beyond 2020 – “until” an Irish border solution that satisfies the EU is found.[…] Read the rest

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Ian Paisley Narrowly Survives

Ian Paisley Jr has survived his recall petition by a narrow margin of 444 votes. 7,099 constituents voted to recall Paisley following his Sri Lankan shenanigans, making up only 9.4% of his North Antrim constituency and falling just short of the 10% margin required in order to trigger a by-election.[…] Read the rest

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Sinn Fein MLA Breaks Electoral Law on Paisley Petition

Ian Paisley’s recall ballot over his undeclared trip to Sri Lanka closed at 5pm today, with the result expected in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Sinn Fein assembly member Philip McGuigan was caught out trying too hard to unseat Paisley, posting a video last night encouraging people to go out and vote because the vote “is on a knife edge”.[…] Read the rest

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DUP Welcome ERG’s New Irish Border Plan

The DUP have put out a statement welcoming the ERG’s new paper on the Irish border. Westminster Leader Nigel Dodds said it was a “positive and timely development” while also hitting out at those who “have used the border issue, and the political process in Northern Ireland more generally, to try to mould Brexit to their way of thinking or to thwart it altogether”.[…] Read the rest

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Ian Paisley Jr Suspended From Commons

From the House of Commons standards committee:

Mr Paisley and his family made two visits to Sri Lanka in March/April 2013 and July 2013. These visits were paid for by the Sri Lankan government. Although the precise value of the hospitality offered cannot be precisely calculated, they were of a value significantly in excess of the then registration threshold of £660.

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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:

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