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Brexit deadlock: May pandering to 'sectarian Protestant DUP' blasts Tory grandee Ken Clarke

Conservative MP Ken Clarke
Conservative MP Ken Clarke
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Former Chancellor Ken Clarke has launched a scathing attack on the DUP for their role in Brexit.

Speaking on Sky News the long-serving Conservative MP said the Prime Minister was spending "all her time on party management, trying to keep hardline Brexiteers and this sectarian Protestant party in Ireland onside".

The DUP voted against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement on Tuesday, despite a confidence and supply agreement between the two parties.

They were opposed to Mrs May's Brexit plan due to the inclusion of the backstop, intended to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

The party say that the backstop would create a trade border in the Irish Sea and could leave Northern Ireland tied to the EU indefinetly.

However, the DUP saved the government from collapse on Wednesday, voting with Mrs May in a vote of no confidence brought by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, to hand her a narrow victory.

Mrs May will now bring her Brexit 'Plan B' to the House of Commons on Monday, ahead of another vote on January 29.

Mr Clarke said that a widespread cross-party agreement was necessary to limit the damage of Brexit to the UK.

He said that the Prime Minister was holding up an agreement with her attempts to appease the DUP.

Mr Clarke voted in favour of Mrs May's Brexit withdrawal agreement.

"She's still going back to the DUP trying to satisfy their unbelievably silly points on the Irish backstop," the Tory grandee said.

Mr Clarke said that Mrs May would have to turn to Labour and the Liberal Democrats to get support for a deal.

"She spends all her time on party management, trying to keep hardline Brexiteers and this sectarian Protestant party in Ireland onside," he said.

"Some of them she won't."

The DUP said Mr Clarke was out of touch and given the overwhelming number of MPs who voted against the withdrawal deal, "in a club of one".

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