James Forsyth

Why the DUP are worried about Tory succession

Text settings

It is the morning after the Bercow before, and it seems pretty much certain that there won’t be a meaningful vote 3 until after the European Council. Whatever is decided there on an extension, should be enough for the government to say that the package is different enough to justify bringing it back for another vote.

But there is no point in the government bringing it back for another vote unless it has a chance of winning that vote, and it won’t have that without the DUP. I understand that these negotiations are going relatively well. But one of those familiar with DUP thinking tells me that one concern they have is over the attitude of Theresa May’s successor to the provision that they are negotiating which would see the rest of the UK follow any regulations that Northern Ireland adopted in the backstop.

The government is offering to put this measure into the withdrawal agreement bill. This would give it force, particularly given that the WAB will be superior legislation. However, the eventual UK / EU trade deal could end up overriding this lock. I understand that yesterday the DUP put out feelers to the leading Brexiteer leadership candidates about how they would approach this issue and were not reassured by the answers that came back.

So, while the Tory mood is hardening in favour of May going, the DUP are less sure this is a good idea. They want to know that whoever will succeed her will not allow regulatory differences between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Topics in this articleSociety