Jeremy Corbyn: ‘DUP-Tory Deal Only Helps Theresa May Cling to Power’

By MO BHANA

Jeremy Corbyn has lambasted Theresa May’s deal with the Northern Irish DUP party.

The Labour leader believes it was ‘not in the national interest’ and only serves to help Theresa May cling to power.

The deal between the DUP and the Tories will ensure the Irish party will back the Tories during Commons votes such as the Budget, Brexit and national security.

In exchange, it has emerged Ms May was forced to ditch election manifesto commitments, promise £1bn of extra spending on education, infrastructure, health and offer lucrative new tax powers for Northern Ireland in order to secure the DUP’s support.

Details later published by the Government showed Downing Street has also promised £200m extra per year for two years to pay for new infrastructure and a further £75m per year for boosting broadband.

Jeremy Corbyn, however, criticised May for the power share agreement insisting: “This Tory-DUP deal has not been done in the national interest, but in the interest of Theresa May and the Conservatives’ own political survival.

“Austerity has failed,” the Labour leader said. “Cuts to vital public services must be halted right across the UK, not just in Northern Ireland.

“The Government must immediately answer two questions: 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.”

The Prime Minister claimed the agreement would be a “very, very good one,” despite concern tying her government to the socially conservative DUP will drag the UK further to the political right.

Negotiations lasted 18 days after the general election on 8 June resulted in a hung parliament.

The support of the DUP, added to the Tories’ 317 MPs, means Mrs May passes the 326 figure needed for an overall Commons majority under a “confidence and supply” arrangement planned to last until 2022.

After talks with DUP leader Arlene Foster at Number 10, the prime minister said the two parties “share many values” and the agreement was “a very good one”.

Mrs May said it would would “enable us to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom, give us the certainty we require as we embark on our departure from the European Union, and help us build a stronger and fairer society at home”.

Mrs Foster said she was “delighted” with a package that includes £1bn of new funding, plus more flexibility on almost £500m of previously announced funds, on infrastructure, health and education in Northern Ireland.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said the cash injection amounted to a “bung.”

Mr Jones said: “Today’s deal represents a straight bung to keep a weak Prime Minister and a faltering Government in office.

“This deal flies in the face of that commitment and further weakens the UK, and as currently drafted all but kills the idea of fair funding for the nations and regions.”

Plaid Cymru’s leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts, went further and demanded that Wales should receive a £1.7bn sum to match the additional rise in funding for Northern Ireland.

Criticising the DUP’s policies, Ms Roberts said: ‘Despite Wales voting overwhelmingly to reject the Conservatives, we seem destined to be governed by the Conservatives once again, propped up by an extreme right-wing party opposed to gay rights, who criminalise women who have an abortion and is supported by armed terror groups.

‘Any commitments for Northern Ireland should be matched for Wales. If reports that the DUP has secured a £1 billion increase in public spending in Northern Ireland are realised, Wales’ population share would be around £1.7 billion – a substantial boost to the Welsh economy that must be delivered.’

Tim Farron described the agreement as a ‘shoddy little deal’.

The outgoing leader of the Liberal Democrats said: ‘While our schools are crumbling and our NHS is in crisis, Theresa May chooses to throw cash at 10 MPs in a grubby attempt to keep her Cabinet squatting in Number 10.’

And Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, tweeted: “Any sense of fairness sacrificed on the altar of grubby DUP deal to let PM cling to power, and Scots Tories influence in No 10 shown to be zero.”

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