Theresa May’s minority administration has failed to secure a deal with Ulster’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ahead of the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, June 21st, with the Northern Irish party describing a Downing Street in “chaos”.
The DUP, as a Protestant, working-class party with socially conservative views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, have been taking flak from left-liberal commentators and politicians since the deal began to emerge, making some of the more Blairite figures on the Tory backbenches apprehensive.
Sources within the DUP have said that “Conservative high command ought to stop their backbenchers whingeing about the DUP and show our party some respect”, according to The Guardian, adding that their support “can’t be taken for granted”.
Channel 4 News also reports the DUP sources as being frustrated at having to deal with young aides who “probably couldn’t find Northern Ireland on the map”, recalling that former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown seemed more decisive when he weighed up a pact with the party in 2010.
Consequently, the sources say, talks “haven’t proceeded in the way we would have expected”.
Alastair Campbell condemns Tory deal with DUP as dangerous.The same deal Gordon Brown tried with DUP in 2010 when Ally was in room
— Andrew Pierce (@toryboypierce) June 13, 2017
The prime minister’s first secretary of state, Damian Green, has insisted: “There is still the possibility – there’s every possibility – of a DUP deal.”
He claimed “the talks have been taking place in a constructive way … we have some differences but we have a lot in common; we’re both unionist parties at our heart; we’re both obviously very concerned with combating terrorism; we both have similar views about delivering a good Brexit for this country; and obviously we’re both very, very concerned by the Irish border issue – but all talks of this kind take a long time, and they’re still continuing.”
Tory sources claim they remain confident they can win support for the legislative agenda set out in the Queen’s Speech, with a DUP deal able to be finalised on June 22nd.
If this confidence is not misplaced, the party should have ample time to stave off the Commons defeat which would bring their government down.
The Queen will read the speech prepared for her by the government at 1130 Wednesday morning to a packed House of Lords containing not just peers but members of the Commons as well. After this has taken place, newly elected members of parlaiment and those returning will be sworn in, and a vote will be taken this afternoon on whether to approve of the speech — if the minority government is not successful in having it passed it would certainly spell the end of Theresa May as Prime Minister, and possibly trigger another election.