Belfast Telegraph

Call for a transparent DUP deal

By Noel McAdam

The Alliance Party has warned of "under-the-table" side-deals between the DUP and Conservatives which may not be made public.

Its deputy leader, Dr Stephen Farry said yesterday the ongoing talks are a recipe for "very unstable" government in the coming months.

And he believed there was a "massive problem" about reappointed Secretary of State James Brokenshire chairing the Stormont talks aimed at restoring an Executive. "He cannot be an impartial broker," said the North Down MLA.

"The Government will have one hand behind its back and if it tells the DUP to agree to something it doesn't want to, then the DUP will pull the plug and the whole thing will come crashing down.

"We cannot stop them from making this deal, but the repercussions for Northern Ireland are potentially severe," the former Employment and Learning Minister commented.

Dr Farry said Prime Minister Theresa May "must make public the full details of any deal she enters into with the DUP in her attempt to hold on to power".

"Only when the details are open to public scrutiny can the electorate be satisfied that the Prime Minister is acting in the best interests of the country and not her party and career," he stated.

"This detail must extend not just to any formal agreement, but also transparency around any side-deals or understandings that are reached," Dr Farry added.

Meanwhile, the SDLP has said it is to have a "period of reflection" after all three of its former MPs lost their seats in the General Election. In a statement issued over the weekend, leader Colum Eastwood said: "We have heard the verdict of the voters, we accept that verdict, and we now intend to listen hard to understand what has been said to us and how we can best respond.

"We will not rush into any knee-jerk reactions, but nor will we be slow in doing what is required. As a party there are no questions we will not be prepared to face. We will not shy away from attempting to provide answers to those questions - even if those answers include the unprecedented or the uncomfortable."

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