Page last updated at 20:14 GMT, Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:14 UK

No deal with DUP over bill: Brown

Uproar in the House of Commons as the result is announced

The prime minister has denied doing a deal with the DUP to help win Wednesday Commons vote on the anti-terrorism bill.

The party's nine MPs were crucial in the government achieving a majority.

The bill would enable terror suspects to be held for up to 42 days without charge.

"There was no deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, no deal with the Ulster unionists generally," said Gordon Brown.

"I think for people to imply that is to take away from the strength of the argument about the need to tackle terrorism.

"Nobody knows more about the dangers of terrorism in the United Kingdom than people who come from Northern Ireland.

"The DUP has denied it supported government proposals to let police hold terror suspects for 42 days because it was offered a string of inducements.

Thirty-six Labour MPs joined forces with Conservatives and Lib Dems to vote against the proposals.

The 42-day proposal was passed by 315 MPs to 306 - with votes by the nine DUP MPs proving crucial.

Lib Dem and Tories voted against the government
36 Labour MPs voted against the government
Seven ex-ministers defied the Labour whip: Frank Dobson, Mark Fisher, Kate Hoey, Glenda Jackson, Peter Kilfoyle, Michael Meacher, and Chris Mullin
All nine Democratic Unionist MPs backed the government. They were: Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson, The Rev William McCrea, The Rev Ian Paisley, Iris Robinson, Peter Robinson, David Simpson, Sammy Wilson
The only Tory MP to back the government was former Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe

Meanwhile, it has emerged that three Ulster Unionist peers are to campaign on behalf of Shadow home secretary David Davis, who resigned as an MP to force a by-election in his constituency, which he will fight on the issue of the new 42-day terror detention limit.

Lords Maginnis, Rogan and Laird voiced their support for him, despite the fact that their party's only MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon, voted in favour of the legislation.

The DUP's William McCrea denied it was promised any financial support for its support and insisted it voted on principle.

"We were taking a decision on the security of the people of the United Kingdom," the South Antrim MP said.

"We certainly did not take it easily, we looked at all the evidence, we had a security briefing - and I was in the intelligence briefing - I certainly heard what was being said by those that know exactly the threat against the UK.

"We took our decision and I believe the people of the United Kingdom will be safer for it."

Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward also told the BBC no deal had been done with the DUP.

He said: "There is no deal. They decided on principle. They made up their own minds."

But there was uproar in the Commons as the result of the key vote on 42 days was announced after five hours of tense debate - with Tory and Lib Dem MPs shouting "You've been bought" at the DUP benches.

Labour rebels claimed the DUP had obtained guarantees that the government would block efforts to use the Human Embryology and Fertility Bill, currently going through Parliament, to loosen abortion rules in Northern Ireland.

They are also said to have cut a deal to keep revenue from water rates, which Westminster had been set to claw back.

Gordon Brown offered the SDLP a deal on Sunday but we told them we were not prepared to deal in civil liberties
Mark Durkan

Lady Hermon, the Ulster Unionist Party's only MP, said she also voted in favour of the legislation.

The SDLP's Mark Durkan said the government had won a "humiliating victory". His party's three MPs opposed the move.

"It had been the prospect for quite some time that the DUP could have the power to sway this vote," he said.

"Gordon Brown offered the SDLP a deal on Sunday but we told them we were not prepared to deal in civil liberties."

Outgoing Conservative Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, who has since resigned, said the government had lost the argument "hands down" and had "bought the vote".

And he vowed to fight it in the Lords - predicting the 42-day proposal would never become law.

"It has no authority, it has no legitimacy and it will be thrown out," he added.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the manner of Labour's victory had been "astonishing" - and for them to rely on the DUP to get such a crucial vote through the Commons would "have been laughed out of court a few weeks ago".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific