Northern Ireland news

Tory MP Peter Bone 'unaware' event he's attending is DUP fundraiser

Tory MP Peter Bone is to speak at a DUP event in Strangford in February

A CONSERVATIVE MP has said he was unaware a Co Down event he plans to attend is a DUP fundraiser.

Peter Bone confirmed yesterday he is to speak at an event in Strangford next month organised by DUP MP Jim Shannon.

He said he was invited to give a speech by Mr Shannon but was not aware of the exact nature of the event.

Mr Shannon has told the News Letter the event is a fundraiser. He said any money raised will be split evenly between the DUP and Elim Missions.

However, Mr Bone, a leading Brexiteer, told The Irish News yesterday he did not know any details of the event.

"Jim asked me to speak and I'm happy to go," he said.

"I'm going because the DUP are our partners in government."

Asked if he was aware the event would raise money for a rival party, Mr Bone said: "I doubt that my presence at the event would stand to increase any funds."

Read more: Tory HQ silent on Jacob Rees-Mogg attending DUP fundraiser

The MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, Mr Bone has been hugely critical of British prime minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, which the DUP also opposes.

Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg is to take part in a fundraiser for the DUP this month.

He is expected to speak at an event planned by DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley.

Mr Rees-Mogg could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

Frank Shivers from the Conservatives in Northern Ireland said he was alarmed that a second high-profile MP was planning to attend a DUP fundraising event.

"As far as I am aware any member who takes part in an event to raise money for another party is breaking the party rules," he said.

Mr Shivers said some political events could raise "between £20,000 and £30,000" for a party.

"I think there is an element of (Tory MPs) not really realising the situation," he said.

Mr Shivers said it would have been "unthinkable" for Conservative MPs to raise money for the Liberal Democrats when both parties were in a coalition government.

"And we're not even in a coalition with the DUP. We have a confidence-and-supply agreement," he said.

He said he would contact Mr Bone "and request that he doesn't attend".

Read more: Tory HQ silent on Jacob Rees-Mogg attending DUP fundraiser

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