Tory-DUP £1bn payment needs UK Parliament’s approval
Treasury requires ‘appropriate’ authorisation to hand over funds
The controversial decision to release funds promised for a £1bn “confidence and supply” agreement between the Conservative government and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) must be approved by Parliament, it has emerged.
Following a legal challenge, the Government conceded that it needs approval before handing over the money promised by Theresa May to Northern Ireland to secure the backing of the ten DUP MPs on key votes.
No date has been agreed for securing that go-ahead. The Government is due to hand over the extra funding to Northern Ireland within the next two years under the terms of the deal to prop up the Tory minority government, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The latest complication emerged after Gina Miller, the campaigner who forced the Government to secure Parliament’s approval to start Brexit, challenged the legal basis for handing over the money, reports The Independent.
“It beggars belief that, neither at the time the Government sealed its dubious deal with the DUP in exchange for their votes in the Commons, nor at any point since, has the Government made it clear that the £1bn of taxpayers’ money for Northern Ireland could only be handed over following Parliamentary approval,” Miller told The Guardian.
Some MPs have said they are concerned about the DUP deal “especially as much of the country has already suffered from government cuts”, says the Daily Express.
But it is unlikely that any Tory rebels would vote against the payment, since it would undermine the vulnerable leadership, adds the paper.
There is another headache looming for the Prime Minister this week as the Government faces its first major vote since the loss of its parliamentary majority.
MPs will today debate the second reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill, (previously known as the Great Repeal Bill). “Theresa May ought to be home and dry on this one, as Conservative Remainers don't want to play and her majority will in any case be bolstered by Labour rebels,” says the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush.
But as the BBC’s Mark D’arcy points out, the real action will come after the voting as backbenchers rush to table their amendments.
The Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh says: “There’s a first-come, first-served tradition, so expect a Brexit bunfight. All these late-night votes will give the Commons a 1970s air, with memories of the minority Labour government limping along.”
Bush agrees, saying: “Minority government is painful, which is why so many in business and at Westminster privately expect the Government to collapse sooner rather than later.”