Time for the DUP to accept defeat?
Sir, – Newton Emerson suggests the DUP will require discipline, pragmatism, leadership and humble pie over the next few months, although strategic thinking or humility have never been the strong points of a party which has always taken its majority and superiority for granted (“Time for DUP to accept defeat on gay marriage and abortion”, Opinion & Analysis, July 11th).
What your columnist fails to mention is that the DUP must be nervous about any restoration of the Assembly, given that their majority over Sinn Féin is now down to one seat, and the unionist (DUP, UUP, TUV) and nationalist (Sinn Féin, SDLP) parties are now neck and neck with 39 seats each, unionists now having 16 fewer seats than in the 2016 election. The Alliance and Green parties will in any restored Assembly hold the balance of power, with eight and two seats respectively.
Perhaps what the DUP must fear more than anything else is another Assembly election, which is why the current debate on Karen Bradley’s proposal to delay further elections from the end of August until October 21st is critical.
Voting patterns from both the recent Northern Ireland council elections and European Parliament elections gave further evidence of a drop in unionist support, suggesting that moderate unionists are transferring their support to the Alliance Party.
And that is before the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) report, due at the end of the summer and likely to offer a damning commentary on the workings of devolved government prior to the collapse of the Assembly, is taken into consideration. – Yours, etc,