DUP U-turn on budget support

Amidst tensions amongst the party leadership, senior DUP MP Sammy Wilson said today the party would draw back from its threat to vote down the Conservative budget over the government's Brexit plans for Northern Ireland.

DUP leader Arlene Foster had previously threatened to vote down the budget, which has previously been a precursor to a vote of no-confidence in a government.

Speaking to the Independent newspaper, Mr. Wilson said it would be "reckless" to vote down the proposed budget.

“We will be supporting the Government in the Budget vote on Thursday,” he said.

“It would be reckless for us, in the absence of a clear picture of where the Prime Minister is going on this, to simply vote against the Budget to teach her a lesson.”

However he warned the DUP were willing to undermine other key legislation if the party's demands for there to be no border in the Irish sea were not met.

“The government will need support on the Finance Bill, which implements the measures in the budget, when it comes to Universal Credit and whole lot of other domestic legislation." he said.

“So they shouldn’t take for granted that just because they get the Budget passed that they can do whatever they want with Northern Ireland.”

The Democratic Unionists' internal splits have been exposed in recent months, after an investigation into the RHI heating scandal showed the rivalries at the very top of the Northern Irish party.

The inquiry was told there was "tension" between former economy Minister, Jonathan Bell, and his special adviser Timothy Cairns, and were told of allegations that the former Strangford MLA attempted to "break Mr. Cairns' finger" during one heated confrontation.

It is also understood that there are increasing tensions between the DUP's Westminster group and the party leadership, with the former uninterested in restarting power-sharing negotiations while they enjoy a great deal of influence over the Conservative government.

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