Trouble in paradise? After the DUP voted with the government last night to ensure they won a crucial vote that gives the Tories a majority on key committees which scrutinise legislation, today the Conservatives got a taste of what it’s like to really be in the minority.
In the opposition day debate on NHS pay, the DUP boldly backed a Labour motion demanding the Government give public health workers a ‘fair pay rise’. The Tories, aware that they didn’t have the numbers to win this vote, abstained. While it’s slightly embarrassing for the government to lose a vote, the motion was not binding – and it did not breach the £1bn Tory-DUP deal.
However, it does serve as a helpful reminder (when the promised £1bn is yet to be released) to the government that they need to keep the unionists on side. A cynical Mr S might also be so bold as to point out that today’s antics might help the Unionists’ case for holding onto their ‘short’ money. After Labour said the DUP ought to hand back the taxpayers’ cash it gets for being an opposition party, the DUP have today proved that they don’t always side with the government.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.