The DUP is prepared to join forces with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in a bid to scupper the prime minister’s much-maligned EU withdrawal deal, Sammy Wilson has warned.
The DUP-Tory confidence and supply pact has appeared increasingly shaky over recent days, with Arlene Foster’s party refusing to back the government in a series of votes on the Budget in protest at Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal.
In a warning shot to the PM, DUP MPs voted with Labour once and abstained five times during Finance Bill votes on Monday.
And DUP Brexit spokesman Mr Wilson yesterday praised Mr Corbyn for his opposition to the draft accord, stating: “He understands that this is a rotten deal.”
The cozying up of the DUP to Mr Corbyn will undoubtedly come as a surprise to some, given that Mr Wilson last year denounced the Labour leader as a “friend of Sinn Fein and IRA supporter”.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, the East Antrim MP said an “improbable alliance” had formed to stand against the PM’s Brexit plan.
“We have Tories, we have left-wing Labour, and we have Scottish nationalists all opposed to this deal.
“The amazing thing is that it is such a bad deal that it has encouraged opposition from all sides of the House, even Remainers.
“If Labour are showing concern about this issue then we would be quite happy to work with them on it to make sure the deal is defeated.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Corbyn expressed concern at the prospect of new checks between NI and GB post-Brexit, something which has been a red line for the DUP.
The prime minister had said in February that “creating a customs and regulatory a border down the Irish Sea is something no UK prime minister could ever agree to”, said Mr Corbyn, and he asked Mrs May to explain why the backstop would do just that.
She countered by saying Mr Corbyn was wrong on this point, adding that the EU had given way on a Northern Ireland-only backstop.
Mr Wilson said the prime minister had been “full of inconsistencies” during yesterday’s PMQ session, adding: “She was all over tha place. She said to Jeremy Corbyn that if the deal failed it could lead to no Brexit, but within 30 minutes she was telling (Tory MP) Esther McVey we were definitely leaving on March 29.
“It shows that she will use almost any argument to anybody to try and persuade them to back this deal. Anyone who is listening to her assurances should bear that in mind.”