DUP Want a Bigger Say Over Tory Government in Future

(Bloomberg) -- As if Theresa May didn’t have a big enough headache trying to negotiate Brexit and quell a plot to oust her as U.K. prime minister, now she is facing demands to give more power to the small political party that’s propping up her minority government.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has a formal “confidence and supply” agreement with May’s Conservative Party that is keeping her in office. It’s due to be reviewed later this year and the DUP is likely to demand a greater say in all the key decisions the Conservatives make, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person said the existing relationship between the two parties means that DUP leader Arlene Foster is consulted frequently, especially on Brexit policy, but this will need to be intensified in the future as a price for keeping the smaller party’s support.

That does not mean DUP politicians entering a formal coalition, with ministers sitting in May’s Cabinet, the person said. When the agreement was struck in June 2017, after May lost her ruling majority in a disastrous election campaign, the government agreed an extra 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in state funding for Northern Ireland.

Talks on the next phase of the confidence and supply agreement have not formally begun yet, and the DUP’s discussions with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond have so far focused on the implications of Brexit policy on the region.

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