Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says the prime minister is in danger of “destroying all confidence in our political system” over rumours she is set to offer the DUP a “bung” in return for their support.
The government has been in talks with the DUP in an effort to salvage Theresa May’s Brexit deal before it is put to MPs for a third time next week.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr McDonnell said he was concerned about the chancellor’s presence at the talks.
He added that if there was “any hint” Philip Hammond was offering the DUP more money in return for their support, it would “undermine confidence” in the political system.
In a tweet later in the day, the shadow chancellor said the British public would see the move as “corrupt”.
2. It will rightfully be seen by the British electorate as corrupt politics and will demean our political system in the eyes of the world. Who could ever again trust the probity of our system of government?
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) March 16, 2019
Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s deputy leader, said talks with the chancellor were “constructive” and showed a “renewed focus” from the government.
In response to claims the chancellor will get his chequebook out to try and woo the DUP, Mr Dodds said they were working to “ensure Northern Ireland is not separated out from the rest of the United Kingdom as we leave the European Union”.
“We are not discussing cash,” he added.
Before giving a speech on Saturday morning, John McDonnell said politicians would “move heaven and earth” to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal, calling a no-deal scenario “catastrophic for our economy”.
He also talked about the option for a people’s vote, saying “quite a number” of MPs would be prepared to support a compromise, on the basis that the public gets the final say on Brexit.