Belfast Telegraph

Lawyers set in train legal challenge to £1bn Tory-DUP deal

By Staff Reporter

A Green Party member has taken the first step in his legal challenge against the Government's parliamentary deal with the DUP.

Lawyers acting for Tyrone mental health worker Ciaran McClean yesterday issued an application for a judicial review of the 'confidence and supply' arrangement, claiming it will undermine the peace process.

It follows a successful crowdfunding campaign on the CrowdJustice website to raise £20,000 for the case.

Mr McClean, who is pursuing the case as a private individual, has now raised more than £50,000 towards his new target of £100,000.

The basis of the claim is the contention that any agreement between the Government and DUP will be in breach of the Good Friday Agreement under which the Government undertook to exercise its power in Northern Ireland "with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions".

Critics have argued the Government cannot be neutral after the political pact with the DUP.

It is also claimed that the deal - which led to an extra £1bn in Government funding for Northern Ireland - breaches the Bribery Act 2010.

Mr McClean said: "Following the success of the crowdfunding, I instructed my lawyers to issue the application for judicial review of the decision by Theresa May to enter into the agreement with the DUP.

"That agreement is, in my view, no more and no less than the purchase by the Government of votes in Parliament using public money.

"It is clear to me and the thousands who have contributed to the crowdfunding on CrowdJustice that that is simply wrong and puts the Good Friday Agreement in severe danger.

"My lawyers have corresponded with the Government and the response from the Government offered nothing to dissuade us from pursuing this application."

Mr McClean said his lawyers have now applied for the application to be expedited "and we wait now upon the court".

"I have already explained that I regard the deal between the DUP and the Government as a disaster for the Good Friday Agreement, and I remain of the view that the Government is acting unlawfully in both breaching its obligations under that Agreement and in breaching the Bribery Act 2010," he added.

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