DUP was seduced by idea of being Britain’s kingmakers

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

The deal announced by the Prime Minister will provide reassurance for many, not least businesses alarmed by the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

But it also appears to have disturbing implications for the long-term economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

At this late stage, we may just have to accept that this is as good an outcome as it is possible to get. Any further delays will only prolong uncertainty and lead to political chaos.

There will undoubtedly be battles to fight as our new relationship with the EU develops, but they are battles for future leaders.

However, it is worth pointing out that all of this was foreseeable. Immediately after the general election I pointed out in this paper that Theresa May (pictured)had called the election to strengthen her hand in the negotiations, but had ended up in a weaker position than before.

I therefore argued that she should resign so that another election could take place under a new leader (‘NI Conservatives should reject talks’, June 14, 2017). Not only did that not happen, but the DUP, instead of recognising that any deal negotiated from such a position of weakness was bound to be unsatisfactory to unionists, chose to prop up her administration, seduced by the idea of being kingmakers.

Commentators are already drawing comparisons with Margaret Thatcher’s signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

For many unionists this deal will strengthen their belief that Northern Ireland is perpetually in danger of being sold out by the British government. But that is the wrong conclusion to draw. Northern Ireland has not been ‘betrayed’ by London. Rather the whole of the UK has been let down by a weak government forced to make too many concessions.

Having helped to prop up May’s administration, the DUP must share responsibility for this.

Adam Moore, member of NI Conservatives, Belfast BT6