DUP set to back Labour motion on NHS pay cap

Ian Paisley Jnr

Ian Paisley Jnr

The party's MPs will vote with Labour in favour of a "fair pay rise" for NHS workers and against the government's rise in tuition fees - the first time they will have broken with the Conservatives since their deal after the election.

Some of the ten DUP MPs were among those to sign a Commons motion, earlier this year, against the pay cap in the NHS.

"We welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to flexibility on the pay cap".

As the debate opened, Ian Paisley, a DUP MP, said: "I must say that myself and my colleagues are minded to support the motion.put before the House this evening".

With late-night, knife-edge votes expected to become a regular event, Government whips want to reassure their backbenchers that they support will only be expected on crunch issues rather than non-binding motions seen as "stunts".

Because the motion was not binding it would not have amounted to a breach of the £1 billion Tory/DUP deal.

'That's the discussions we had in advance of the last election, and to chide us, you only hurt public servants in Northern Ireland who are benefiting from that £1 billion deal that will allow us to allocate this money to relieve these costs'. "The Government understood that is the way that we were going to vote", Mr Dodds told Sky News following the debate.

"It's not part of our confidence-and-supply arrangement".

We made clear to her majesty's government on issues like this we reserve the right to vote on the basis of our own manifesto.

Conservative sources said they were "pretty relaxed" about the outcome of the debate as it does not require the Government to change policy.

Earlier this week Downing Street said the seven-year public sector pay cap is to be scrapped, unveiling a 1.7 per cent hike for prison officers and improvements totalling 2 per cent in police pay for 2017/18.

Theresa May has suffered fresh humiliation over public sector pay after the House of Commons unanimously agreed to give NHS workers "a fair pay rise". The real question is will the Government now ignore the clear will of the House or will it take action to end the pay cap in the NHS.

"It's extremely rare for the Government not to vote down an Opposition motion and the only explanation is it avoided a vote because it knew it would lose it", he said.

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