DUP signs deal to support minority Conservative government

Helen Cahill
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The Prime Minister Meets DUP Leader At Downing Street
Arlene Foster arrives at Number 10 to finalise the deal with the Conservatives (Source: Getty)

The DUP has signed a deal with the Conservatives to support Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government.

Speaking outside Number 10 after signing the deal, DUP leader Arlene Foster said the party was acting "to deliver a stable government in the UK's national interest" during the discussions with the Tory party.

Read more: DUP to demand £2bn extra NI spending in exchange for deal with Tories

What's in the deal?

The Conservatives agreed to keeping the pensions triple lock, and said there will be no means-testing of the winter fuel allowance for pensioners.

The DUP has also secured £1bn in extra funding over the next two years, and has been given more flexibility in how the £500m already pledged to Northern Ireland can be spent.

May said in a statement:

I welcome this agreement which will enable us to work together in the interest 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.

In addition, due to the importance of agriculture to Northern Ireland, May has promised to make agriculture a "central policy area" during the Brexit negotiations.

In return, Foster's party will support the government on motions of confidence, the Queen's speech, the Budget and finance bills. The DUP will also back all legislation relating to Brexit and national security.

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby said:

Political necessity has once again trumped long-term thinking when it comes to the state pension triple-lock. The policy has simply become a symbol for doing right by older people, and as a result there has been little serious debate over its purpose or sustainability.

The two parties have been working towards a "confidence and supply" agreement since the General Election, when the Conservatives lost their majority in the House of Commons.

May will need the support of the DUP's 10 MPs when parliament votes on the Queen's speech on Thursday. The Conservative party has 317 seats, nine seats short of a majority.​

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