Theresa May could face court challenge over planned pact with the DUP

Arlene Foster and Theresa May
DUP leader Arlene Foster,
left, and Prime Minister Theresa May.

Charles McQuillan/PA Wire/PA Images

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May could be taken to court over
her plan to arrange a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.

A team of experienced lawyers is planning to apply for a judicial
review of the Tory-DUP minority government deal once it is
officially confirmed by UK government, the Guardian newspaper

They claim that any deal would breach the Good Friday peace

The newspaper reports that High Court judges might be asked to
access whether a “confidence and supply” arrangement between the
Conservatives and the DUP would be a breach of the UK
government’s requirement to exercise “rigorous impartiality” in
regards to Northern Ireland, as outlined in the Good Friday
Agreement (1998).

Prime Minister May is still involved in talks with DUP leader
Arlene Foster about arranging a pact. In practice, it would mean
the DUP’s 10 MPs in the House of Commons supporting the Tory
minority government in major votes. This would keep the
day-to-day business of government in motion and prevent May’s
weak administration from collapsing.

However, numerous politicians across the British political
spectrum have warned that a Conservative-DUP deal poses severe
constitutional risks and could risk undoing the peace process in
Northern Ireland.

Last week, former Conservative Prime Minister John Major warned
that a pact involving the Tories and the DUP could lead to
violence returning to streets of Northern Ireland.

“My main concern is the peace process,” Major said. “A
fundamental part of that process is that the UK government needs
to be impartial between all the competing interests.

“The danger is, however much any government tried, they will not
be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary
deal in Westminster with one of the Northern Ireland parties…

“If they cease to be seen as an honest broker than we cannot be
certain how events will unwind. Events don’t always unwind as you
expect them to unwind. You need to be prepared for the
unexpected. We need to hope for the best but prepare for the

The Guardian reports that lawyers have already found a lead
claimant to spearhead the legal case. This lead claimant will
play a similar role to that of Gina Miller in the Article 50 case
that was heard both in the High Court and Supreme Court last
year. Miller became a target for severe criticism from pro-Brexit
newspapers like the Daily Mail and potential claimants in this
new landmark legal case have been told to expect lots of
attention from the press.