Meet the DUP: 'It was Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve'
With the General Election resulting in a hung parliament, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are set to prop up the Tories and keep Theresa May (for now at least) in Downing Street.
She has now begun talks to strike a formal coalition with the DUP – despite some concerns over some of the DUP’s anti-gay, anti-women policies claims and claims an alliance could put the Northern Irish peace process in jeopardy.
The pro-Union DUP is the largest unionist political party in Northern Ireland and with ten Northern Irish seats from a possible 18, and a pro-Brexit stance, it is the most obvious partner for a possible coalition.
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The party has already helped to block several laws in Northern Ireland that cover the rest of the UK, including the introduction of gay marriage.
And some of its MPS have also been accused of making controversial statements.
Sammy Wilson MP has been accused of voicing support for a document produced by the Ulster Defence Association in 1994 which called for ethnic cleansing and the repartition of Ireland. It reportedly called for Catholics left in the Protestant part of the country to be “expelled, nullified, or interned”.
Also representing the DUP is David Simpson MP who said during a debate on same-sex marriage in 2013: “In the Garden of Eden it was Adam and Eve; it wasn’t Adam and Steve.”
And in 2007, Ian Paisley Jr said of gay people: “I am, unsurprisingly, a straight person. I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society.”
He added: “That doesn’t mean to say that I hate them. I mean, I hate what they do.”
Here’s how the DUP stands on some key issues:
Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are different to the rest of the UK. Abortions may be carried out, but only in very specific circumstances – if a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health. Terminating pregnancies resulting from rape and incest is illegal. The pro-life DUP opposes changing the law on abortion in Northern Ireland.
Legislation to allow same-sex marriages in England and Wales came into force in 2014, followed by Scotland later the same year. It is still not legal in Northern Ireland and DUP leader Arlene Foster has previously stated that the party will block any changes to the law.
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The DUP is strongly pro-Brexit, however, the party would seek to negotiate a softer Brexit that would ensure Northern Ireland remains in the single market and maintains free movement. The party is keen to ensure that there is no threat to the soft border with the Republic or Ireland.
That will put some strain on any deal with the Tories, who have committed to leaving the customs union – thereby automatically creating a hard border.
The DUP has firmly ruled at working with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at any point.
The DUP has said it supports the triple-lock, a commitment that Theresa May has scrapped in the Tory manifesto. It also says it will resist the “assault” on universal benefits such as the winter fuel allowance.
And here is a broad overview of the party’s policies:
DUP manifesto on Brexit. Warm words, few red lines. pic.twitter.com/lW8C0nA5zF
— Matthew Holehouse (@mattholehouse) 9 June 2017