DUP strike £1.5bn funding deal with the Conservatives


The Conservatives need the support of DUP's 10 MPs after managing to get 317 seats in the 650-seat parliament.

After talks at No 10 between Theresa May and DUP leader Arlene Foster, the pair hailed the agreement between the two parties.

In return, May agreed to at least 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in extra funding over two years for Northern Ireland, agreeing to raise pensions annually by at least 2.5 percent and to keep universal winter fuel payments for the elderly. They smiled and joked as negotiators from both sides, the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson and the Conservatives' Gavin Williamson signed the deal.

"We also share the desire to ensure a strong government, able to put through its program and provide for issues like the Brexit negotiations, but also national security issues", May said.

"I note that the agreement provides for DUP support for British government legislation on Brexit", Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in a statement ahead of talks to try to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing regional government.

Thirdly, some have suggested the financial package is provisional upon the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland at the earliest opportunity.

Ms. Foster said the extra money would be spent on infrastructure, health and education, benefiting the whole of Northern Ireland after concerns voiced by the republican Sinn Fein party, the DUP's rivals.

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And its negotiations with May's government had prompted warnings in the Republic of Ireland of a disrupted balance of power in Belfast that could in turn upset a delicate peace struck after decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles. Details of the "confidence and supply" deal include an agreement for the DUP to support the Conservatives on legislation around Brexit.

- The UK government notes that one of the first tasks for Northern Ireland's new executive will be to work towards the devolution of corporation tax rates, the timetable for its introduction, and how this might best be flexibly managed, with options being developed for the Autumn Budget 2017.

The DUP has agreed a deal to support the minority Conservative government at Westminster. The leader of a Northern Ireland-based party is in Londo.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the agreement might suit May's wish to stay in power, but would do little for the country.

"It informed my teenage years, it informed my political decisions, but at the same time I don't think we should let the past define what we do in the future", she said.

The Democratic Unionist Party is a pro-British, largely Protestant party that wants Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, sought assurances that LGBT rights would be protected after any deal with the DUP, which opposes same-sex marriage as well as abortion.