- Conservatives defend continued payment of opposition money to the DUP.
- DUP have signed a £1 billion deal to support the government in parliament.
- Labour accuse the government of giving “double bubble” funds to the party.
- Conservatives insists the DUP remain an opposition party.
LONDON — The Conservative party have defended the decision to continue paying taxpayer-funded opposition money to the Democratic Unionist Party, despite the DUP signing a £1 billion deal to support the government.
The DUP last year received a total of £170,000 in taxpayers’ money in order to aid them in opposing the government. The party has since agreed to support May’s government in exchange for extra funding for Northern Ireland.
Labour MP Kevin Brennan asked the prime minister on Wednesday whether it was true that the DUP were continuing to receive this so-called “short money” which is paid to opposition parties in the UK.
“Regarding this deal she has done with the DUP, is it true that on the one hand she is shelling out all this extra money to secure their support while on the other hand she is still giving them taxpayers’ cash in the form of short money to be in opposition?” he asked during prime minister’s questions.
“Is that what we get from this prime minister — no pay rises for nurses but double bubble for her friends in the DUP?
May declined to answer the question on short money. However a spokesperson for the Conservative party told Business Insider that it was right for the DUP to continue to receive these funds.
“This is not a coalition government,” they said.
“This is a confidence and supply deal. The DUP will continue to sit on the opposition benches and they will continue to get short money.”
In recent days DUP and Conservative MPs have referred to each other as “honourable friends” which is a title normally used to refer to members of the same party or government.
The prime minister on Wednesday referred to DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds as her “honourable friends” while DUP Ian Paisley referred to the prime minister earlier this week as “the right honourable and even closer friend the prime minister”.
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