Legal challenge to Tory/DUP pact
Legal challenge to Tory/DUP pact


An agreement between unionists and the Conservative Party at the Westminster parliament is set to be challenged in the courts.

Tyrone-based Green Party member Ciaran McClean has launched a campaign to take a judicial review against the deal, which he says is unlawful and breaks the Good Friday Agreement’s requirement for the British government to be impartial between the north’s parties.

The Democratic Unionists have agreed to vote with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority Tory government in key debates in return for an extra billion pounds for the north as well as other key unionist demands.

Carwyn Jones, then the first minister of Wales, described the cash as a “straight bung to keep a weak prime minister and a faltering government in office”. The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, characterised it as a “grubby, shameless” deal.

“I wish to hold the [British] government to account for their actions through the courts in a judicial review,” said Mr McClean.

“My claim is that as a citizen I expect my government to honour its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement and not to bribe others with money so that it can stay in power.”

Meanwhile, the British Labour Party has also said the Tories-DUP confidence and supply deal had created difficulties for the talks process.

“Obviously there’s a risk that one side of the community has the ear of the government when it shouldn’t have,” said Labour’s spokesman on the north of Ireland, Owen Smith.

“And even if the initial deal is transparent in terms of what Northern Ireland and the DUP are getting, there will be concern that the DUP have got more of an influence than they ought to have.”

Mr Smith said there would be concern about “side deals” though he insisted he was unaware of any.

“There have been side deals in the past by both governments - we all know that,” he said.

He called on the British Direct Ruler James Brokenshire to “pull his finger out” and inject fresh energy into stalled efforts to restore the political institutions in the north of Ireland.

Three deadlines imposed by the Tory MP have passed without a deal.

Mr Smith said the British prime minister’s failure to get involved in the talks was “wrong”, and that James Brokenshire and the British government needed to provide the process with fresh impetus as it resembled “Groundhog Day all over again”.

“We could do with a bit more energy - a bit more va va voom,” he said. “If he (James Brokenshire) can’t, then the prime minister needs to step in.”

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