- 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 reports.
They claim that any deal would breach the Good Friday peace agreement.
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 worst.”
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.