Theresa May’s Conservative Party and Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party have signed a deal which will see the Northern Irish party support the government on Brexit legislation. The agreement will also see the government commit to a covenant that ensures military personnel and their families are treated fairly.
The ‘confidence and supply’ agreement was signed on Monday by Gavin Williamson and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the chief whips for the Tory Party and the DUP, respectively, to underline its status as a parliamentary arrangement.
Outlining the content of the agreement, which has now been published in full, Foster began by saying that it would “operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom’s national interest”.
She continued: “This agreement will operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom’s national interest at this vital time.
“Throughout these discussions, our guiding principle has been our commitment to acting in the national interest,” Foster reiterated, “in accordance with our shared objective for strengthening and enhancing our precious union.”
— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) June 26, 2017
Foster confirmed the negotiations, concluded with a view to “enhancing the security of our nation, building prosperity for all, and supporting an exit from the European Union that benefits all parts of the United Kingdom,” had led to recognition of “the case for higher funding in Northern Ireland, given our unique history, and, indeed, circumstances, over recent decades.”
This funding is to include £1 billion in extra support, “as well as providing new flexibilities on almost £500 million previously committed to Northern Ireland”.
The DUP has also won agreement “that there will be no change to the pensions triple lock [or] the universal nature of the winter fuel payment,” and commitments to the NATO spending requirements on Defence and “to the Armed Forces Covenant and … its implementation throughout the United Kingdom”.
The confidence & supply agreement between the DUP and the Conservative & Unionist Party: https://t.co/ZMpUbEx4RZ
— DUP (@duponline) June 26, 2017
The DUP are a Protestant, working-class party with a socially conservative domestic platform, focused primarily on maintaining Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom, in line with a clear majority of the Province’s residents.
The efforts of the terrorist Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) organisation to remove Northern Ireland from the UK by force had a deep personal impact on Foster, whose police officer father was shot in an attempted assassination when she was a child.
She survived a terror attack herself at the age of 16, when the IRA bombed a school bus she was travelling on.