Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Nigel Dodds: 'We will fight election in terms of £1bn confidence and supply cash'

Nigel Dodds (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Nigel Dodds (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said his party will fight a potential general election in terms of the "incredible" £1bn investment they secured under the confidence-and-supply deal with the Conservatives.

Mr Dodds was speaking ahead of make-or-break day in Parliament for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Government, where it is expected opposition MPs and Tory rebels will attempt to take control on Commons business in a bid to stop a no-deal Brexit.

There has been speculation that, if the plan is successful, the PM may call a general election to strengthen his razor-thin majority and ensure the UK leaves the EU on October 31.

In a speech in front of Number 10 on Monday, Mr Johnson accused those trying to move against the Government of "chopping the legs from under" the UK's negotiating position with the EU.

Speaking to the BBC Radio Ulster, Nigel Dodds supported the PM's stance and said it would be "madness" for no-deal to be taken off the table.

He also said the DUP is prepared for a potential snap poll.

"If we have to fight [a general election], we will fight it. And, of course, the DUP will fight it from the position of delivery, and delivery for Northern Ireland," he said.

"We will be moving forward in terms of that incredible investment that we achieved through the confidence and supply agreement, making sure there is a strong voice for the Union in Parliament and standing up for Northern Ireland."

The DUP has been in a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Tories for the last two years, propping up the Government in key votes in return for more than £1bn of investment for Northern Ireland. The deal is due to be reviewed before the next parliamentary session.

At the weekend, the results of an analysis of polling trends suggested, however, that three DUP MP's could be at risk of losing their seats in a snap election.

In a report in the Sunday Times, Belfast-based pollsters LucidTalk found that Emma Little Pengelly, Gavin Robinson and Paul Girvan could all be toppled by Alliance candidates.

Mr Dodds, however, said his party are "very, very confident" of performing well in a future poll.

"We are the only party that has delivered in Parliament over the last two years. Others rubbish it and try to criticise, but they haven't delivered a single penny for Northern Ireland," he said.

"They haven't done the things in terms of city deals, in terms of the billion-pound investment."

The DUP stalwart added that he believes a deal can still be reached between the UK and EU, however "movement will be necessary" on both sides.

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