December 12, 2018 / 10:16 PM / a month ago

May's confidence vote win doesn't change Brexit arithmetic: DUP

FILE PHOTO: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds speaks at the DUP annual party conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

LONDON (Reuters) - A senior member of a Northern Irish political party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May said her survival in a vote of confidence on Wednesday did not change the situation in parliament where her Brexit plan faces stiff opposition.

“I don’t think this vote really changes very much in terms of the arithmetic on that and that’s our concern,” Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party told BBC television.

Earlier, May won a confidence vote from her Conservative Party but more than a third of her lawmakers said she was no longer the right leader to implement Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The DUP has an agreement to support May’s Conservatives in parliament but it is deeply opposed to a key part of the Brexit deal she agreed with other EU leaders last month — the so-called backstop arrangement for the border between EU member state Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Dodds said he held a “good meeting” with May before the confidence vote in the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee.

“She understands what, I think, our concerns are about the legally binding nature of the indefinite arrangements that we would be tied into and the difficulties that would pose for Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Whether or not she delivers anything that changes that remains to be seen,” Dodds said.

“We will wait and see. The noises coming out of Europe from some of the member state governments don’t sound too promising but on the other hand she has made commitments tonight to the 1922 Committee and to us, so we will wait and see.”

May said she would seek legal and political assurances from EU leaders on Thursday on the backstop arrangement.

Reporting by Costas Pitas and Andrew MacAskill; writing by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison

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