Arlene Foster says her party will decide this weekend whether or not to support the prime minister’s bid to hold a general election in December.
But the DUP leader has told Sky News that her 10 MPs must be able to scrutinise the Brexit withdrawal legislation.
She said: “This is not just a straightforward call for a general election. This is linked very clearly with an accelerated passage for the withdrawal legislation.”
“Of course, we need to be in a position to scrutinise that withdrawal legislation so we will have to consider whether we support the prime minister or not and we will make that decision over the weekend,” she added.
The DUP leader will address her party’s annual conference in Belfast this weekend, one year after Boris Johnson told them there could not be a border in the Irish Sea.
Asked by Sky News how the DUP did “not see the bus coming,” she replied: “I’ve heard a lot of analogies to buses over the past period of time.
“But I think the very clear piece to remember is that we are very much still in play, very much still have influence as you see from the votes last Saturday and Tuesday of this week so we will continue to stand up for Northern Ireland.
“We believe in Brexit but we also believe in the Union, very much so, and it’s always the Union first and I make no apology for that.”
Mrs Foster, whose party opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, has had to write her speech in the week Westminster stepped in to legislate for both in Northern Ireland.
She has committed to attempting to repeal the new legislation on abortion if the devolved government is restored at Stormont.
She said: “This is the most fundamental change to our abortion laws. We’ve now the most socially liberal abortion laws in the whole of Europe.
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“For a place like Northern Ireland, this is very, very difficult because the majority of people here in Northern Ireland do not want to have abortion laws that allow abortion up to 28 weeks.
“We think that it wrong and we think the place to have that discussion is in the assembly, not to have it decided over our heads in 17 minutes in the House of Commons,” she added.