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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reality of a hung Parliament to confront Boris on day one

Boris Johnson may have the cabinet he wanted, packed out with Brexiteers and purged of any dissenting voices, he may have installed the core of the Vote Leave campaign in his private office, but he still has to confront the reality of a hung Parliament.

One of the first decisions he will have to make is what price he needs to pay for an effective majority on key votes, because as sure as night follows day, the DUP are going to come knocking on the door of Number Ten.

As the Independent reports, Democratic Unionist Party Leader, Arlene Foster has revealed that she spoke with the incoming prime minister soon after his victory was declared – and immediately put him on notice that here party will demand more cash in “the coming weeks” to continue propping up the Conservatives in power:

The DUP leader noted that the £1bn-plus confidence and supply agreement – signed with Theresa May, to deliver her a Commons majority two years ago – “remains”. But she added: “That agreement included a review between each parliamentary session.

“This will take place over the coming weeks and will explore the policy priorities of both parties for the next parliamentary session.”

The DUP is widely expected to demand an even higher price to renew the agreement, as well as action to thwart prosecutions of soldiers investigated for alleged wrongdoing during the Troubles.

Mr Johnson will need the support of the DUP even more than his predecessor did, as even the flimsy working majority she negotiated with the Northern Ireland party crumbles.

He will inherit a majority of just two – including the 10 DUP MPs – which will fall to only one if, as expected, the Liberal Democrats win the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election next week.

Some of his aides are already wargaming a snap autumn general election, as the likely only way to meet his pledge to leave the EU on Halloween, “deal or no deal”.

Just how far is Johnson prepared to secure the DUP's support? It could be a very interesting summer indeed.
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