This article assesses the implications of the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the context of the Barnett Formula and inter-governmental relations post the devolution settlement and the Good Friday Agreement. In light of the parties’ shared objectives to strengthen and enhance the United Kingdom, the Confidence and Supply Agreement, sets out how the DUP would support the minority Conservative government in specific areas, including finance Bills and matters pertaining to the exit from the European Union. This article examines the nature and operation of this Agreement and assesses the extent to which it may be seen to have breached established conventions, rules and principles around devolved funding and the principle of political impartiality enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement. It is argued that the Confidence and Supply Agreement has contributed to the perceived shortcomings of the Barnett Formula as a robust, fair, financial methodology. The distribution of money to the devolved administrations should be modernised and based on need, accountability and transparency. It is also concluded that being locked into a parliamentary deal undermines the UK government’s ability to be impartial between the competing interests in Northern Ireland.
- Barnett Formula
- Confidence and Supply