Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
11 October 2018

To survive the Budget, Theresa May must realise where the DUP’s priorities lie

The “U” in DUP doesn’t stand for “Don’t let Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister; it stands for “Unionist”.

By Stephen Bush

Nice fiscal event you’ve got there, Prime Minister. Shame if something happened to it. The DUP is preparing to vote against the Budget should Theresa May ignore the party’s red lines over Brexit, Newsnight’s Nick Watt reports.

Although the spirit of our constitution is that losing a Budget means that the Prime Minister should resign, the letter of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act means that May would have no direct spur to – and crucially, means that the DUP can cause no end of havoc without bringing about an early election.

Are the DUP bluffing? Too much weight is given at Westminster to the DUP’s opposition to Labour as long as Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are in charge. Yes, the two men’s historical associations with the IRA mean that the DUP will never support a government led by either of them.

But equally, the “U” in DUP doesn’t stand for “Don’t let Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister”; it stands for “Unionist”. And a deal that could unify the Conservative Party – Great Britain out of the customs union and single market while Northern Ireland remains aligned with the European Union – would put a stick of dynamite under the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If after Brexit, any growing business or young entrepreneur in Northern Ireland finds it prohibitively different to expand to the rest of the United Kingdom but it remains simplicity itself to do business in Ireland, that’s the beginning of the end for the DUP’s political project.

Anyone who thinks that Arlene Foster and the DUP will put frustrating Jeremy Corbyn ahead of their constitutional aims is in for a nasty shock sooner or later.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
What are the green skills of the future?
A global hub for content producers, gaming and entertainment companies in Abu Dhabi
Insurance: finding sustainable growth in stormy markets