Who Are The DUP? The Party That Could Join The Conservatives In Government

Following a dramatic general election night, the nation has woken up to a Parliament in turmoil, as it’s been revealed that the Conservatives have failed to win enough seats for a majority – while Labour also fell short.

The country was left with a ‘hung Parliament’, meaning that there is no clear party to take the lead. And, much like the political situation in 2010, when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined up to lead the country. 

Theresa May has now announced she is going to seek the Queen’s approval to form a government, despite not securing a majority in the snap election, joining forces with the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. They won 10 seats in the recent election, meaning they could help the Conservatives to get the majority of seats in government. 

The DUP is lead by Arlene Foster, and is the largest unionist political party in Northern Ireland. It’s also the fifth largest party in the House of Commons. And the party could well change the PM’s stance on Brexit if the two paired up. They’ve openly spoken out against a “hard Brexit” in the past – so how might that work with Theresa May’s strict stance?

In the past, leader Arlene Foster has said, “No-one wants to see a ‘hard’ Brexit, what we want to see is a workable plan to leave the European Union, and that’s what the national vote was about – therefore we need to get on with that.

“However, we need to do it in a way that respects the specific circumstances of Northern Ireland, and, of course, our shared history and geography with the Republic of Ireland. No-one wants to see a hard border, Sinn Fein talk about it a lot, but nobody wants a hard border.”

Lord Hain, a British Labour politician, has this morning said, “The DUP are clearly now in a strong position. The Tories now need them. But the DUP wants an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to keep the flow going. So although they were for Brexit, they were not for a closed border.”

The party has come under fire for its controversial policies and attitudes, labeled as ‘terrifying’ and ‘backwards thinking’

1. Abortion 

Party leader Arlene Foster has made a personal pledge to prevent any terminations being made available in Northern Ireland.  

“I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England and don’t support the extension of the 1967 act,” she told The Guardian in 2016.  

2. LGBT rights

Son of the party’s founder Ian Paisley, Ian Paisley Jn, has previously called homosexuality “immoral, offensive and obnoxious” and said he was “repulsed” by gays and lesbians. 

DUP have also championed a campaign called “Save Ulster from Sodomy”.  

3. Gay Marriage 

The Party is anti gay-marriage, beleiving that a marrital union should be ‘traditional’. Speaking of the pro-marriage equality movement, party leader Arlene Foster said in 2016: “They are not going to influence me by sending me abuse – in fact, they are going to send me in the opposite direction and people need to reflect on that.”

She added: “I could not care less what people get up to in terms of their sexuality, that’s not a matter for me – when it becomes a matter for me is when people try to redefine marriage.”