Scotland politics

Theresa May refuses to answer SNP's DUP deal question

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Media captionTheresa May was pressed on whether she had a conversation with David Mundell about the DUP deal

The prime minister has refused to say if she was lobbied about the DUP deal by Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford pressed Theresa May on the matter during PMQs.

Ahead of the DUP agreement, Mr Mundell told the BBC he could not back a deal which "deliberately sought to subvert the Barnett rules".

Mrs May said she regularly received representations from Mr Mundell about "matters relating to Scotland".

Mr Blackford told the prime minister she had failed to "give a straight answer" and asked again: "Did she receive any representations about the DUP deal from the Secretary of State for Scotland - yes or no?"

Mrs May replied: "I can assure [Mr Blackford] that I regularly receive representations from the Secretary of State for Scotland about matters relating to Scotland, including regular representations which point out that if the Scottish nationalists actually have the interests of Scotland at heart they will want to remain part of the United Kingdom."

The House of Commons exchange came the day after the Scottish government suggested it was prepared to trigger formal dispute resolution talks over the £1bn DUP deal the Conservative government struck.

Ministers in Scotland believe that funding should also be heading north of the border in light of the agreement of extra money for Northern Ireland.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has written to Treasury chief Liz Truss asking for an "urgent" meeting.

Image caption David Mundell was in the House of Commons listening to the exchange

On the day the Tories shook hands with their DUP partners, it emerged there would be no additional funding for Scotland or other parts of the UK.

The deal, which means the 10 DUP MPs will back the Conservatives in key Commons votes, came two weeks after the election resulted in a hung parliament.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme before the agreement, Mr Mundell said: "I certainly won't support funding which is deliberately sought to subvert the Barnett rules.

"We have clear rules about funding of different parts of the United Kingdom. If the funding falls within Barnett consequentials, it should come to Scotland."

At PMQs on Wednesday, Mr Blackford recounted that interview, saying to the PM: "The Scottish secretary insisted that Scotland would see increased funding if the DUP secured money for Northern Ireland as part of a confidence and supply deal, quoting, 'I am not going to support anything that could be seen as backdoor funding to NI'.

"Did the PM receive any representations from her Scottish Secretary about the DUP deal either before or after it was signed?"

Mrs May did not answer the question directly, focusing instead on extra budget funding amounting to many millions of pounds for Scotland.

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