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LONDON – The Democratic Unionist Party is planning to vote with Labour against Theresa May’s government on NHS pay and tuition fee rises in an opposition day debate on Wednesday.
The DUP’s 10 MPs are set to vote with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party for a “fair pay rise” for those who work in the NHS and against the government’s planned rise in tuition fees, likely meaning a symbolic defeat for the government.
A DUP source said their MPs would vote for the two opposition day motions which were put forward by Labour.
Importantly, the votes are non-binding on the government, meaning Prime Minister May is not obliged to act on them. This is why DUP is able to vote with the opposition in spite of its “confidence and supply” deal with the Conservative Party.
If the government is defeated in the debate, it will increase the pressure on May to scrap the public sector pay cap for more workers, and could force a rethink over tuition fees. It would also be the first time that the informal coalition between the Conservatives and the DUP has been split.
Ian Paisley Jr, a senior DUP MP told the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon: “I must say that myself and my colleagues are minded to support the motion … put before the House this evening.”
On Tuesday the government ended the 1% pay cap for police and prison officers and said they might be prepared to show “more flexibility” in order to allow pay raises for other public sector workers.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the motion calling for the “end [to] the public sector pay cap in the NHS and [to] give NHS workers a fair pay rise,” was “bogus.”