DUP/Tory deal: 'No time schedule' for £1bn funding

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DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Tory Chief Whip Gavin Williamson signed the deal in June

Lawyers acting for the government have said “no timetable has been established” for the provision of £1bn extra funding for Northern Ireland.

The money was negotiated by the DUP in June as part of its confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservatives.

However, the lawyers said no extra funding had yet been made available.

Any additional payments would be authorised by parliament through the normal budgetary process, they said.

The lawyers indicated any additional payments are likely to be included in the “Main or Supplementary Estimates of the Northern Ireland Office for the financial year in which they are made”.

The comments came in legal correspondence between the UK government, businesswoman Gina Miller and a trade union – the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain – who have been seeking to challenge the DUP deal payments in court.

They claimed the £1bn funding was improper and discriminatory.

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Gina Miller said she was ‘stunned’ to learn that the DUP cash had to get parliamentary approval

The government rejects the claimants’ challenge.

Ms Miller told the BBC’s Nolan show on Monday that she was “stunned” that the DUP cash had to get parliamentary approval and this aspect of the deal had not been widely known.

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Done deal: Prime Minister Theresa May outside Downing Street with the DUP’s Arlene Foster, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson

She said she assumed the DUP and the Conservatives could push the extra payment through, but questioned whether some Conservatives who are unhappy with the DUP deal, such as the Scottish conservatives, might take “disruptive” action.

Ms Miller said she did not see any space in the government’s legislative programme for a separate vote on the DUP cash and wondered whether the payment could be included in the budget in November.

DUP sources said the process of needing parliamentary approval for government expenditure was normal and they did not think there was any chance of Conservative rebels disrupting the payment negotiated in June.

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