From the Devil to the DUP: 500,000 sign petition against new government
Brexit, same-sex marriage, climate change: six things to know about the DUP
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and party leader Arlene Foster point at each other during a photocall with their newly elected MPs. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
UK prime minister Theresa May’s new allies in government, the Democratic Unionist Party, is in favour of soft Brexit, wishes to maintain a porous Border with the Irish republic, but also holds illiberal positions on abortion and gay rights .
An online petition in objection to the Tories and DUP forming a minority government has so far gathered more than half a million signatures.
Speaking outside Downing Street on Friday, Ms May said she could rely on her party’s “friends and allies” from the party founded by Ian Paisley Snr.
Brexit and the Border
The DUP campaigned for Brexit, but its manifesto argues for maintaining a “seamless and frictionless” border with Ireland. Objectives for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations include maintaining the Common Travel Area with the Republic and ease of trade throughout the European Union.
Their manifesto retains the pensions triple lock and universal winter fuel allowance – policies that the Tories said they would drop.
Same sex marriage
Northern Ireland is the only remaining part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal after the DUP used a controversial veto mechanism to block any change to legislation. Senior figures in the party have called the issue a “red line” for power sharing talks at Stormont.
The DUP has also fought hard to halt an extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland. Campaigners say their actions have forced thousands of Northern Irish women to travel for terminations elsewhere, or to rely on abortion pills bought online.
While climate change scepticism is not official party policy, the DUP has previously appointed a denier as environment minister in Northern Ireland, and it counts a number of creationists among its senior members.
Much focus will now fall upon the party’s leader Arlene Foster, a tough character whose politics were influenced by the Troubles. At the age of eight, her father, a part-time policeman, was shot and injured by the IRA on the family farm.
When she was a teenager in 1988, a bomb exploded under her school bus as it was being driven by a part-time soldier in the Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment.
She came to prominence after resigning over the “cash for ash” scandal, having overseen a government programme that misused public funds.
She denied any wrongdoing.
Following the election result, she told Radio Ulster: “It’s too soon to say what we’re going to do yet. I think we need to see the final make up of Parliament and then we’ll reflect on that.
“I certainly think that there will be contact made over the weekend but I think it is too soon to talk about what we’re going to do.”
– Guardian service