DUP strike forces government to cave into MORE amendments to Budget

The furious DUP went on strike for a second day in a row last night amid growing signs their deal to prop Theresa May up in No10 could be torn up. 

The Government was forced to accept a slew of amendments to the Budget after the Northern Irish party refused to back them in a row about her Brexit deal.

It was the second night in a row that the party refused to back the Tories and a humiliating blow for Mrs May, who was accused of being ‘in office but not in power’.

It was breach of the DUP’s confidence and supply deal with the Tories, which sees the party’s 10 MPs back the PM in return for an extra £1billion for Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson and Chancellor Philip Hammond are both speaking at the DUP’s conference in Belfast this weekend as they both try to woo the party. 

The DUP is furious as the Brexit plan, which they have slammed as unacceptable because the backstop plan would mean extra regulatory checks in Northern Ireland.

DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly today warned the PM they will not prop her up to ‘rip apart the United Kingdom’ and warned they could tear up the confidence and supply deal if she does not back down.

They say this is a clear breach of their ‘blood red line’ that the province is treated the same as the rest of the UK.

Mrs May is jetting to Brussels today for crunch talks EU President Jean-Claude Juncker where she will urge him to sweeten the deal to help her sell it at home. 

Before she left, DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds piled more pressure on the PM by accusing her of abandoning promises made to Northern Ireland last year. 

The party's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds (left with leader Arlene Foster) said the Prime Minister had to 'look beyond' her draft Brexit deal because it is opposed on all sides of the House

The party's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds (left with leader Arlene Foster) said the Prime Minister had to 'look beyond' her draft Brexit deal because it is opposed on all sides of the House

The party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds (left with leader Arlene Foster) said the Prime Minister had to ‘look beyond’ her draft Brexit deal because it is opposed on all sides of the House

Theresa May

Theresa May

Jean-Claude Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker

Theresa May (pictured left this week) will plead with the EU to sweeten her Brexit deal today as she holds talks with Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured right)

She has been told by her chief whip Julian Smith no to come back empty handed, warning her deal risks being voted down unless major new concessions are won.

If the DUP permanently pull support for the PM, then they would strip Mrs May of her wafer-thin working majority and could send her government crashing down.   

Rather than suffer the humiliation of being defeated on the Finance Bill – which enacts the Budget – ministers last night were forced to accept Labour and SNP amendments.

Downing Street denied the climbdowns were fuelled by the DUP strike and a spokesman said today: ‘Where votes have taken place the Government has won. It is our position that it is still in effect.’ 

The concessions included demands for areview of the public health effect of gambling and a review of the effectiveness of the Government’s new tax avoidance measures.

PM to hold crunch talks with Juncker as she tries to sweeten her Brexit deal

Theresa May will plead with the EU to sweeten her Brexit deal today as she holds talks with Jean-Claude Juncker.

Amid furious opposition from Tory MPs, the Prime Minister will deliver a stark message to the commission president that she needs something to help her sell the package at home.

The teatime talks in Brussels are the last chance to shore up the plan before an EU summit that is due to formalise them on Sunday.

Mrs May has managed to quell a Cabinet mutiny over the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement – albeit at the cost of two big resignations. A backbench coup attempt led by Jacob Rees-Mogg has also embarrassingly flopped.

But she has been warned by ministers that she must get concessions alongside the text to avoid a catastrophic defeat in Parliament.

One Brexiteer Cabinet ministers suggested that rather than re-drafting the deal, appendices or explanatory notes could be added to make it more palatable.

‘There are lots of ways of changing something without changing something,’ they said. ‘You can do a lot with addenda.’

And they must now draw up a report on the cross-border tax arrangements under different Brexit scenarios.

The DUP pulled their support on Monday night – voting with Labour on one amendment and abstaining five times.  

Ms Pengelly today told the BBC’s Politics Live show that the PM must listen to her.

She said: ‘The Prime Minister needs to listen to us, and there are a wide range of options available and we will be examining all of those options including the relationship within the confidence and supply.’ 

The DUP MP said that they have repeatedly told the PM they have ‘one red line – to respect the integrity of the United Kingdom’.

She added: ‘We have looked at this Withdrawal Agreement – it doesn’t do that.

‘A confidence and supply agreement must be about working together, and if our positions are not going to be respected then if our positions are not going to be listened to then we can’t expect to have the cooperation we had before.’

She added: ‘We are not prepared to be the party that places this government in a position of power to rip apart the United Kingdom. That is completely unacceptable to us.

‘We are simply sending a very clear message to the Government – there is still time to take a look at this deal….she needs to do that, and she needs to do that urgently.

‘We have got one red line the Prime Minister needs to start listening to that.  

The party’s leader in Westminster, Nigel Dodds, last night said: ‘The Confidence and Supply Agreement was based on shared objectives for strengthening and enhancing the Union and an exit from the European Union that benefits all parts of the United Kingdom.

‘We have kept to our word in relation to the Confidence and Supply Agreement, but even Cabinet members have found themselves having to resign because this deal does not represent those shared objectives in relation to the Union.

‘The Government will require DUP support to deliver its domestic agenda. We will continue to use our influence for the good of everyone across the United Kingdom.’ 

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell swooped on the disarray in  No10 to take aim at the Government.

He said: ‘It’s absolutely staggering that the Government has accepted all Labour amendments to the Finance Bill because it couldn’t rely upon the DUP’s support.

Has ‘Max Fac’ been put back on the Brexit negotiating table?

Downing Street has hinted that a technological solution could yet solve the Irish border problem 

The PM appeared to buy off some senior Brexiteers, including Iain Duncan Smith Smith and Owen Paterson, earlier this week by offering to look at their proposals on the Northern Ireland border.

They have been urging the government to push technological solutions to avoiding a hard border, and Mrs May has seemingly promised to raise their latest ideas with Brussels.

However, the EU has previously dismissed the so-called ‘Max Fac’ solution as ‘magical thinking’.

There is no sign either Mrs May or the commission is considering abandoning the ‘backstop’ proposal. 

The PM’s spokesman said of technological solutions to the border ‘there are things that have been looked at’.

He pointed to the withdrawal agreement draft which says ‘alternative arrangements’ could be used to bring the backstop plan to an end. 

‘The Tories are in office but not in power. We’re watching a government falling apart in front of us.’  

A senior Tory MP told MailOnline said the votes were a signal the government might not last long even if Theresa May somehow managed to force her Brexit deal through Parliament.

They said: ‘Without the DUP we are toast.’ 

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said Mrs May’s deal with Brussels breached a ‘fundamental’ assurance that Northern Ireland would not be separated constitutionally or economically from the rest of the UK.

After the votes in the Commons last night, he told Newsnight: ‘We had to do something to show our displeasure.’ 

‘She has broken all of those promises – to the people of the United Kingdom, to her own party and to the people of Northern Ireland.’

The major row comes as Mrs May is preparing to travel to Brussels this afternoon where she will plead with Mr Juncker to sweeten her Brexit deal.

The  Prime Minister will deliver a stark message to the commission president that she needs something to help her sell the package at home.

The teatime talks in Brussels are the last chance to shore up the plan before an EU summit that is due to formalise them on Sunday.

Mrs May has managed to quell a Cabinet mutiny over the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement – albeit at the cost of two big resignations. A backbench coup attempt led by Jacob Rees-Mogg has also embarrassingly flopped.

But she has been warned by ministers that she must get concessions alongside the text to avoid a catastrophic defeat in Parliament.

One Brexiteer Cabinet ministers suggested that rather than re-drafting the deal, appendices or explanatory notes could be added to make it more palatable.

‘There are lots of ways of changing something without changing something,’ they said. ‘You can do a lot with addenda.’ 

As the number of Tory MPs pledging to vote against the package continued to rise alarmingly, chief whip Julian Smith has privately told the PM she is set to lose unless there are significant tweaks. 

In return for the confidence and supply deal, the Government promised an extra £1billion in spending in Northern Ireland - but only £430million of it has been handed over, Commons research shows (pictured) 

In return for the confidence and supply deal, the Government promised an extra £1billion in spending in Northern Ireland - but only £430million of it has been handed over, Commons research shows (pictured) 

In return for the confidence and supply deal, the Government promised an extra £1billion in spending in Northern Ireland – but only £430million of it has been handed over, Commons research shows (pictured) 

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