DUP MP Sammy Wilson has laid into Theresa May as relations between the Northern Irish party and their Tory partners in government sunk to a new low.
Wilson said that the DUP will “not be bullied” into propping up Mays government if she caves-in to Brussels “outrageous, capricious and extortionate” demands.
His comments reflect the Unionist angst over possible concessions she may make keeping Northern Ireland in the customs union: “If the Government is putting these proposals into the public domain to test the water, our advice is to get its toe out quickly or it is going to get burnt. As a Unionist party, we will not give our support to any deal which includes such economically and constitutionally damaging arrangements.”
Other signs emerged tonight that the relationship which sustains the government is under severe strain. Steve Baker, a Tory MP and former number 2 to David Davis in the Brexit department, said that the DUP were ‘furious’:
DUP absolutely furious tonight
Describing the backstop proposal as “shameful”
And NI’s probable exclusion from trade deals as “disgraceful”
No one should underestimate their resolve
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) October 10, 2018
Indeed they shouldn’t, later on in the Commons the DUP lion roared, they flexed their muscles by abstaining on a Labour amendment to the Agriculture Bill and have threatened to vote down the Budget. Mrs May might have thought that her Conference speech might have brought her some breathing space, however, today will surely have burst that bubble?