Sir Jeffrey Donaldson: DUP Leader says deal with government could be struck within weeks

The DUP Leader says he hopes to have struck a deal between the Government and his party within the next few weeks.

Speaking on View from Stormont, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says the government's attention could turn elsewhere if the DUP's concerns are not resolved before any general election.

“Realistically the longer this goes on and the closer we get to a general election, the government is going to turn its focus to other things,” the DUP Leader said.

“So I hope that in the next few weeks and months we can get to a position where a decision can be taken and I think that is in everyone’s interests that we get to that point and I want that to be a successful outcome.

“I want an outcome that enables us, particularly unionists, to say that these arrangements, that we can support and therefore there is a basis for restoring the cross-community consensus essential for making Stormont work.”

Sir Jeffrey stressed his party’s concerns were with Northern Ireland’s position within the union and not with Sinn Fein holding the position of First Minister.

“As to who is first minister, it is a joint office, Michelle O’Neill can’t order a paperclip without the say so of the DUP,” he said.

“So let’s get away from this idea that somehow our major concern here is that we’re not prepared to share power. We are very clear, we want to see devolution working for everyone in Northern Ireland, but it has to be on the basis that unionists as well as nationalists can support the arrangements and at the moment that consensus is not there.”

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