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Backstop could be at the heart of renegotiated DUP/Tory pact

DUP leader Arlene Foster with Emma Little-Pengelly at Stormont yesterday
DUP leader Arlene Foster with Emma Little-Pengelly at Stormont yesterday

By Staff Reporter

The DUP could ask the next Prime Minister to sign up to alternative arrangements to the controversial backstop as part of a new confidence and supply agreement with the Tories, according to sources.

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The party's deal with the Conservatives, which was reached two years ago, comes up for review this summer.

The DUP pledged to keep Theresa May's government in power in return for £1bn of extra funding for Northern Ireland.

Sources have suggested that binning the Brexit border backstop could be a condition for the ongoing support of the DUP's 10 MPs in the House of Commons.

The new Prime Minister, who will take over from Mrs May in July, will conduct key negotiations with the DUP which will be central to the government's survival.

Asked last night about whether the backstop would be at the centre of those discussions, a DUP spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph: "The confidence and supply agreement states that it would be reviewed at the end of each parliamentary session.

"The elements of that review will be discussed in due course.

"The Conservative Party leadership is a matter for Conservative Party members. The DUP will work with the next Prime Minister to bring stability to the UK."

He continued: "The 2017 agreement reflected this by addressing historic underinvestment in Northern Ireland in infrastructure and mental health but also addressing UK-wide matters such as the triple lock on pensions and maintaining our 2% GDP commitment to spending on defence."

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