Theresa May’s £1 billion deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has prompted incredulity that the prime minister has conveniently found a “magic money tree” to prop up her minority government.
May met with DUP leader Arlene Foster this morning to finalise the pact, agreeing to spend an extra £1 billion on Northern Ireland over the next two years while also offering “new flexibilities” for £500 million of previously committed funding.
“This agreement will operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom’s national interest at this vital time,” Foster told journalists outside Number 10.
But many unconvinced voters have pointed out that the agreement comes in the same month May rebuffed an NHS nurse who asked why she and her colleagues had not had a pay rise since 2009.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time ahead of the election, May told the woman: “I’m being honest with you in terms of saying that we will put more money into the NHS, but there isn’t a magic money tree that we can shake that suddenly provides for everything that people want.”
“Oh look! Looks like Theresa May found the magic money tree after all! ” one man tweeted this afternoon after hearing news of the DUP deal.
Another added: “Tories tell nurses there is no magic money tree to pay them properly while giving DUP £1 billion so they can cling to power.”
The announcement has also garnered huge anger from Labour MPs and left-wing activists, many of whom have used May’s own “magic money tree” phrase to mock the agreement:
First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones said the deal “all but kills the idea of fair funding” and “weakens the UK”, while the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the Prime Minister had “found a magic money tree” for a “grubby deal”.