Election results 2017: Could DUP be Westminster kingmakers?


DUP leader Arlene Foster is hugged by deputy leader Nigel Dodds at the count centre in Belfast, Northern IrelandImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Arlene Foster’s DUP made big gains, winning 10 seats

In 2015, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) built its general election campaign around the idea that its MPs might be kingmakers at Westminster.

Their posters bore the slogan “More Votes. More Seats. More Influence. More for Northern Ireland”.

When David Cameron won his majority, that strategy was quietly forgotten.

But that’s the position the 10 newly returned DUP MPs are in, despite leader Arlene Foster predicting it did “not look likely” at the campaign outset.

An arrangement with a Labour-led Rainbow Coalition is a non-starter. Senior DUP figures have made clear their antipathy towards Jeremy Corbyn because of his historic links with Sinn Féin.

Theresa May – or whoever succeeds her – would be a far more plausible partner for the DUP, which is pro-Brexit and right of centre on many issues.

DUP sources say it is too early to predict whether they might consider a formal coalition or a more informal “confidence and supply” arrangement. But what would they want in return for such support?

On Brexit, the DUP want the border with the Irish Republic to be as “seamless and frictionless” as possible, and they reject the Special EU status championed by Sinn Féin, which they regard as watering down Northern Ireland’s Britishness.

Other clues to what the DUP might demand can be gleaned from their manifesto, which includes retaining the “triple lock” on pensions, cutting VAT for tourism businesses, abolishing Air Passenger Duty, and reviewing the price of ferries between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The DUP’s 10 MPs – a gain of two since the last election – are the fruit of a polarisation in politics in Northern Ireland.

The party had a difficult Northern Ireland Assembly election in March, when Sinn Féin made substantial gains.

This election was to some extent a return match and the DUP was able to rally its supporters in order to ensure Sinn Féin did not become the biggest party in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin has done well, winning a record seven seats. The casualties were the two smaller, more moderate nationalist and unionist parties – the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists – who have been wiped off the map.

The Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has reiterated that his new MPs will not abandon their abstentionism – the party’s MPs do not take their seats in Westminster.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption DUP sources say it is too early to predict whether they might consider a formal coalition or a more informal “confidence and supply” arrangement

That means there will be no Irish nationalist voice in the House of Commons chamber as the forthcoming Brexit negotiations unfold.

The fact that the seven Sinn Féin MPs won’t take their seats will also have an impact on the arithmetic of the hung parliament, reducing the winning post from 326 to something more like 322 seats.

So ironically Sinn Féin might, by staying away, make the management of the new parliament a little easier for the DUP and the Conservatives.

At Stormont, the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly, there is no power-sharing executive because of a stand off between the DUP and Sinn Féin, which has remained unresolved since the start of this year.

Talks were due to get going after this election, with the aim of restoring power sharing within the next three weeks.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-40215071

But now it looks like the DUP will be double-booked, playing a role in forming a government not at Stormont, but at Westminster.

In the same category are

Sally Anne Bowman killer Mark Dixie jailed for more attacks Image copyright PA Image caption Eighteen-year-old Sally Anne Bowman was murdered in south London in 2005 The murderer of model Sally Anne Bowman ...
Katie Rough death: Teen detained for life for killing Image caption Katie was found seriously injured near playing fields in York in January A 16-year-old girl has been detained for life for killing s...
Egypt Sinai: Bomb and gun attack on mosque ‘kills 54’ Image copyright EPA Image caption The militants targeted a mosque in Bir al-Abed west of al-Arish Suspected militants have launched a bomb and gun...
‘Indiana Joan’: 95-year-old accused of looting Middle East tombs Image copyright AFP Image caption At least one of Mrs Howard's digs was at the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo A 95-year-old Australian woman h...
Black Friday and Cyber Monday: top tips Image copyright Getty Images Black Friday is well under way and the bargains will flow thick and fast all weekend - right up until the next sales pe...
Poldark star Aidan Turner is heading to the West End Image caption Aidan Turner famously bared his torso in the first series of Poldark Poldark actor Aidan Turner is to swap his scythe for a cut-thro...

Dont forget to “Like” us on Facebook


Need something to share, visit our sister site for the

‘News in the last 30 days”

in a clear concise package ….

 

If you are an artist or interested in art, visit our art website and read about todays artscene and browse some of our artist profiles

 

Comment on this story