Newton Emerson: Time for DUP to accept defeat on gay marriage and abortion

Abortion and same-sex marriage not do-or-die issues for unionist electorate

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photograph: Tom Honan

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photograph: Tom Honan

The DUP got what it asked for in the House of Commons on Tuesday, both figuratively and literally.

Figuratively because two years of frustration with the unionist party’s antics over Brexit and the confidence-and-supply arrangement erupted across the Commons. Labour amendments on extending same-sex marriage and abortion to Northern Ireland were backed by almost a third of Conservative MPs, plus the Scottish Nationalists who had initially accepted the DUP’s argument that Westminster was breaching the terms of devolution. More than a third of Conservatives did not vote. Unionists demanded support from their Tory partners and conspicuously did not receive it.

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