1

The DUP give the Tories a working majority of 13.

Are the DUP at liberty to withdraw support for any reason?

3

Their agreement with the Conservative party spells this out plainly:

Duration of agreement

The agreement reached will remain in place for the length of the Parliament, and can be reviewed by the mutual consent of both parties. [...]

In this context, "the length of the Parliament" appears to mean "until the next election." Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the next election will be held no later than 5 May 2022. The agreement specifically is not tied to Theresa May; if the Conservatives replace her as PM, the DUP will still be bound. Also, the parties can reopen negotiations at any time by mutual consent (for example, if they decide that the Irish border question needs to be more specifically discussed).

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  • Thank you for the explanation and the link to the agreement. – 52d6c6af Nov 3 '18 at 20:01
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    I see no penalty for a violation of this agreement spelled out - and how could the Tories punish DUP members of parliament? – Martin Schröder Nov 3 '18 at 21:51
  • @MartinSchröder: If the DUP breaks confidence and brings down the government, it's unlikely they ultimately benefit. The best case scenario for the DUP is the Tories coming back to form another minority government, which wouldn't really change anything (and at which point the Tories might well decide to offer less favorable terms or find another minor party to deal with). If Labour managed to do well in the election, they probably would not try to make a similar agreement with the DUP in the first place, leaving the latter with nothing. – Kevin Nov 3 '18 at 22:09
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    @MartinSchröder - This is a gentleman's agreement between two parties with broadly aligned political aims. There's no "punishment" for breaching the agreement, but the Conservatives would make bloody sure that the DUP paid a toll if they reneged. Note also that if the DUP withdrew, the odds are that the opposition Labour party (led by a man who has repeatedly expressed his desire for a united Ireland) would attempt to form a government. – Valorum Nov 3 '18 at 23:28

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