Northern Ireland news

Tory climbdown after DUP backs Labour over NHS pay cap

The DUP has voted with Labour to back health service pay rises. Picture by Nick Ansell, Press Association

THE DUP backed a Labour motion on NHS pay last night but insisted it did not threaten its £1bn deal to prop up Theresa May's Tory government.

The government had faced the prospect of losing a vote on the non-binding motion, which called for an end to the public sector pay cap in the NHS, after its DUP allies made clear they would go with Labour.

But the motion was not put to a vote after the government chose not to contest it rather than face an embarrassing Commons defeat.

The DUP's 10 MPs are helping to shore up Mrs May's minority Tory government and have previously voted with her on several key issues, including Brexit.

Because yesterday's motion was not binding the DUP did not breach of its £1 billion "confidence and supply" deal with the Tories, the party's deputy leader Nigel Dodds said.

"Lifting the cap on nurses' pay and in the public sector generally is our party policy. The Government understood that is the way that we were going to vote," he told Sky News following the debate.

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