A DUP MP has told Sky News the party is not afraid of potentially triggering a general election by voting against the Budget.
The Northern Ireland party, which backs Theresa May’s minority Conservative government in key votes at Westminster, has made it clear the radical move is on the table if the prime minister breaches their red lines in the Brexit negotiations.
DUP leader Arlene Foster is steadfastly against any agreement with the EU that would leave Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK.
Sign up to our leaders’ debates campaign
Sky News is calling for an independent Leaders’ Debate Commission to oversee and organise election debates
The support of the Unionist party is crucial to Mrs May, who agreed a "confidence and supply" deal with the DUP in the wake of losing her parliamentary majority in last June’s snap election.
Defeat on the Budget could be a mortal blow to the PM’s authority and spark a no-confidence vote in the government.
Under the Fixed-term Parliament Act, if Mrs May lost a no-confidence vote, an election would be held if no alternative government was confirmed by the Commons within two weeks.
"We don’t want to embarrass the government, but we want the government to take a long hard look at our position."
DUP MP Jim Shannon tells @SkyNewsPolitics the party is not bluffing over its threat to vote against the Budget: pic.twitter.com/1u1MO0OTPt
— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) October 11, 2018
Downing Street has insisted defeat on the Budget would not amount to a vote of no confidence in the government, but there is no doubt the rhetoric of recent days has ratcheted up the Brexit brinkmanship.
Speaking to Sky’s political correspondent Tamara Cohen, DUP MP Jim Shannon insisted the party was not bluffing.
"In the next two weeks we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do and I think, in all honesty Tamara, that everything is on the table, and the implications of that are clear," he said.