Belfast Telegraph

We are not scared of an election: DUP ups ante in Brexit division with Prime Minister

By Jonathan Bell

DUP MP Jim Shannon has said his party is not afraid of an election.

It comes as Sky News reports the DUP is "explicitly"  threatening to "wreak havoc" on the Prime Minister's political agenda should she agree a solution to the border issue that would see a border placed down the Irish sea.

The DUP has a confidence and supply arrangement with the government which sees its 10 MPs help it see bills through the legislative process.

It's reported the party fears being "sold out" in the Brexit talks and could vote against the budget triggering the possibility of bringing down the government, forcing a General Election.

Speaking to the broadcaster on Thursday morning, Strangford MP Shannon said: "Everything is on the table and the implications of that are clear.

"We are not afraid of elections, we never have been in the DUP. We are happy on this principle that we want to be treated the same as the rest of the UK on this principle to fight any election, should that happen. 

"I hope it won't happen.

"We don't want to embarrass the government, we just think government needs to take a long hard look at our position."

SDLP leader Column Eastwood said he "hoped" the DUP did not move to bring down Theresa May and felt they were "coming under "the influence of extreme Brexiteers" in the Conservative party.

"The DUP need to remember who they actually represent. The people on the island of Ireland need protected. That is our job," he told the BBC.

"The backstop is far from perfect but it is an opportunity to build something that will protect all of our citizens and and the DUP need to grab that with both hands."

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