The price of holding power

Theresa May and Arlene Foster witness the signing of the Conservative-DUP pact Image copyright Getty Images

It wasn't quite five days in May, but at last Theresa May can say she can confidently form a government.

The sober faced DUP trio came out of the famous black door just before noon. They have plenty, however, to be happy about.

Their negotiations have secured an extra £1bn for Northern Ireland over two years - roughly £800 for every voter in the province. They have forced the Tories to give up some of their more controversial manifesto commitments.

They'll have a "coordination committee" - a frequent direct line to the top of the Tory party, all with the chance of going back for more in two years - who knows what will have happened by then.

The Tories now face a bumpy day of criticism, about how the DUP have been bought off - £100m for each of their ten votes in Parliament. The other devolved nations will cry foul.

Some Tories too are deeply uncomfortable about the association with the DUP brand of unionism. And if the cuts are to be eased in Northern Ireland, what about other parts of the country?

But the money that's been found down the back of the Number 10 sofa for Northern Ireland may be worth it for Theresa May as the price of holding power, for now. She now has her majority, whatever the cost, and a dividend could be the conclusion of a deal to get power sharing at Stormont up and running too.

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