Response to constituent queries on the DUP

Some constituents have contacted me about the government’s cooperation with the DUP.

The Prime Minister is finalising a deal very different from the coalition agreement previously in place with the Liberal Democrats.

The DUP will support us on specific key issues such as the budget and will help provide the stability and certainty the whole country needs as we embark on Brexit and beyond.

Several people have raised concerns about the impact of any deal on areas such as eg. English laws on abortion, gay marriage etc. These issues are ‘devolved’ i.e. decisions for Northern Ireland Assembly and so have no impact on our laws here.

Personally, I will continue to promote an equal rights agenda. I supported the Conservative Bill in Government for same sex marriage and earlier this year ‘Turing’s law’ to remove historic convictions for consensual acts. As I work with colleagues to govern in the national interest we’ll continue to promote and champion the equal rights we believe in.

The DUP and us have a similar practical approach to settling the border issue with the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, making sure that there is as little disruption as possible. And we shared the conviction that a Corbyn led government, in coalition with those who would bring down the Union (the SNP), would be a disaster for all of the UK.

Governing in the national interest means leaving the EU in a way that works for the whole country. It means building on our economic record of more jobs, cutting the deficit and investing more in public services like the NHS; and tackling the social issues like mental health, housing, and proper technical education for young people.

My own plan, with our University and NHS Trusts, for a Health University Technical College in Gloucester are a key part of this.

I am confident that an agreement will be reached soon and expect a formal announcement with more detail at that time