North Shropshire MP Owen paterson backs MP Theresa May over DUP deal

Published date: 15 June 2017 |
Published by: Barrie White
Read more articles by Barrie White


NORTH SHROPSHIRE MP Owen Paterson has given his backing to prime minister Theresa May and her plans to use the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) support for votes after she lost the Conservative majority.

Mr Paterson was returned to North Shropshire for the sixth time last week as he increased his share of the vote to more than 60 per cent.

With Brexit at the forefront of his mind, Mr Paterson believes a leadership challenge to Mrs May will send out the wrong message ahead of negotiations with the EU.

He insists the two parties have a lot in common, but admitted some criticisms of the DUP have been fair.

“Mrs May does have a future – she got the largest number of seats,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“It’s quite right the PM sits down with a party with whom we do have many things in common, particularly on Brexit.

“It would be silly to deny it wasn’t the result we wanted in the Conservative Party but we are a week off starting Brexit negotiations.

“To cast the Tory party into yet another leadership contest would be very unwise.

“We’ll have to see how tight the relationship is.

“I talked to a senior DUP MP over the weekend and he said there were many things  our two parties had in common.

“I can’t see why other people who believe in the United Kingdom, and the membership of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, can’t rise to the top in United Kingdom politics, as happened long ago.

“There’s been public comments about the DUP which I think have been quite fair. But most of these issues have been resolved within England and Wales and I don’t see many social issues coming up in the next parliament.

“You might get a debate on further reduction of abortion times as medical science advances. 

“But if you’re referring to gay rights, etc, then these issues have already been devolved in England and Wales and that’s down to the politicians in Northern Ireland to resolve.

“I don’t see any rowing back on gay rights. Ruth Davidson was right to raise it and she did it incredibly well. Speaking to the DUP man, he had serious concerns about the loss of Brexit.”

Mr Paterson received 33,642 votes, more than 16,000 more than his nearest rival Graeme Currie of the Labour Party, bringing his overall share of the vote to 60.5 per cent.

He was pleased to see Conservative gains in Scotland, despite losses in England, but feels he was elected on the strength of his commitment to Brexit.

He added: “I’m never complacent. I got around my constituency as you could see from my social media and as I have done in all previous elections.

“I made it clear to people about Brexit, which is why we got 60.5 per cent, that we needed a mandate for Brexit. We had 17.4 million vote to leave last year and we triggered Article 50.

“What I saw from campaigning was a lot of people who voted Remain also want to see Brexit done and out of the way. 

“The common phrase was ‘just get on with it and get it finished’.

“*For a full general election round-up, including the Eddisbury and Clwyd South constituencies, see this week's Whitchurch Herald.

  • See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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