“Right honourable friends”: 5 crises facing the Tory-DUP government after week 1


The Tory-DUP government faces a maze of political problems after only one week in power

THERE have been few governments in UK history which faced so many problems so soon into their term in government.

The Tory-DUP deal, which was needed to create a slim Commons majority for the right, was finally agreed on Monday (26 June). Prime Minister Theresa May’s reference to a DUP MP as her “right honourable friend”, a term ususally reserved for members of the same party or members of the Privy Council, has signified her reliance on the hard right unionist party.

But the new administration immediatly faced a deluge of problems – political, economic and constitutional.

CommonSpace looks at five crises looming over the Tory-DUP administration in an increasingly fractuous Brexit UK.

1. Brexit negotiations

Brexit negotiations have began in the wake of May’s humiliation at the hands of the public. The prime minister, who is thought to favour hard Brexit and the end of free movement is steadily losing ground to those inside and outside of her party who want a ‘soft Brexit’.

2. Direct rule in Northern Ireland?

The failure of the republican party Sinn Fein and new UK Government partners the DUP to arrive at an agreement for a power sharing executive at Stormont creates the possibility of direct rule from the UK. This would mean one side of the community divide ruling Northern Ireland from Westminster, which republicans don’t recognise, without peace process checks and balances.

Read more – Why the DUP’s origins in the Troubles and religious fundamentalism still matter

This potentially destabilising situation has been delayed, along with the deadline for negotations, till Monday (3 July).

3. Faith in austerity gone

A social attitudes survey showed that just four per cent of UK citizens want further cuts. The anger against austerity has continued to galvinised around the Grenfell Tower disaster, where at least 79 have died. Many believe the true figure to be far higher.

Read more – Protestors prepare for 1 July demo as austerity consensus teeters on the brink

Tens of thousands are expected to protest on Saturday 1 July against the Tory-DUP government.

4. Economic woes

It was revealed this week that British people are saving less now than in over half a century – pointing to the accute problems of falling wages, stagnating investment, crawling growth and Brexit-fueled inflation. Scotland’s economy is teetering on the brink of recession.

Read more – Margaret Cuthbert: Scotland ‘very likely’ to enter recession soon

But if it goes, the signs are that the UK economy isn’t far behind.

5. Scottish independence

It’s the UK state’s headache that just won’t die. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s speech on Wednesday (28 June) removing the time frame from a referendum on Scottish independence but not the event itself dissapointed supporters of the union.

Read more – Thank you Nicola Sturgeon, we’re finally ready to begin

She called for a re-engagement with the broad pro-independence movement and a return to the cause of independence itself, rather than quibbles over the precise timing of a vote.

Picture courtesy of Tim Dennell

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