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DUP ready for a snap general election, insists Dodds

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds

By Staff Reporter

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

Mr Dodds was speaking ahead of yesterday's make-or-break day in Parliament for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In a statement in front of 10 Downing Street 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's Radio Ulster, Mr Dodds supported the PM's stance and said it would be "madness" for a no-deal exit to be taken off the table.

He also said the DUP was prepared for a potential snap election.

"If we have to fight (a general election), we will fight it. 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.

However, yesterday the Conservatives lost their parliamentary working majority, despite the DUP's support, after Tory MP Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats.

The deal is due to be reviewed before the next parliamentary session.

"As outlined in the confidence and supply agreement in 2017, the terms of that agreement will also be reviewed in advance of the new session," Arlene Foster said last week.

At the weekend the results of an analysis of polling trends suggested that three DUP MPs 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 (South Belfast), Gavin Robinson (East Belfast) and Paul Girvan (South Antrim) could all be toppled by Alliance candidates.

Mr Dodds, however, said his party was "very, very confident" of performing well.

"We are the only party that has delivered in Parliament over the last two years," he said.

"Others rubbish it and try to criticise, but they haven't delivered a single penny for Northern Ireland.

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

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

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