10 Things To Know About The DUP - Theresa May's New Coalition Pals
The Debrief: These are the guys who will help Theresa May pass legislation. Here's what they stand for...
Your need-to-know on the party that Theresa May seems to want to go into Coalition with… As you may well know, the 2017 election has resulted in a hung parliament, which means that no one party gained a majority of seats in the election. The result is that the Conservatives, with 319 seats, need to go into coalition with another party in order to form a government. And the party Theresa May has chosen to give her party the edge? The DUP. DUP stands for Democratic Unionist Party. Which sounds very nice and very together and unified and all that, but this is what the Northern Irish party (not the only Northern Irish party by the way - there are the Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein, who decline to sit in Parliament) stands for:
It’s kind of funny that they’d ever go into coalition with the Conservatives, who famously brought in this game-changing piece of equality legislation.
Though Northern Irish women are British, and live in Britain, and should be able to have abortions as any other British woman is entitled to under the 1967 Abortion, they can’t get them. Why? Because of the DUP, who recently appointed a health minister who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, and will only ‘carefully consider’ allowing abortion to women who have been raped.
If you're in any doubt that this is a problem, we asked a couple of pro choice campaigners in Northern Ireland for their thoughts on the coalition. 'It is disgusting that Theresa May is going into coalition with a party that continually ignores women's rights, gay rights and who do not believe dinosaurs exist', Emma Gallen, a campaigner Alliance for Choice from Belfast tells The Debrief.
'The electorate voted towards more liberal parties but to keep in power May has sided with a party who have had several financial scandals (RHI, Red Sky, Nama) and continue to promote segregation and bigotry. We have been without an Assembly since March because the DUP can not come to an agreement with Sinn Fein and they might have a bigger say in Brexit. It is scary and worrying. Especially as most of NI voted Remain. The DUP say they are for Britain but they refuse to extend British Laws to Northern Ireland such assame-sexx marriage and any abortion reform'
Naomi, from Belfast, is a Marie Stopes escort who says she was 'activised' by being forced to travel to England for an abortion. She also has misgivings about Theresa May forming an alliance with the DUP. 'Many women in Northern Ireland will be worried that an anti-equality, anti-women and homophobic party are in coalition with the UK government. It will be interesting to see if a pro-union party will call for legislative parity in Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. When it comes to a woman's right to choose and the extension of abortion rights, the only thing we will hear is deafening silence.'
A lot of their representatives believe that the world was created, by God, in about 2000 B.C. But more importantly, they want to ensure kids to learn this in school as fact, because it is in the Bible.
Their ex-health minister, Jim Wells, once said ‘the gay lobby is insatiable, they don’t know when enough is enough…the figures show that. The facts show that you certainly don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That child is far more likely to be abused or neglected.’ He since apologised. But…come on.
Iris Robinson, former DUP MP and wife of Peter Robinson (the ex DUP leader) claimed homosexuality is ‘disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile’, an ‘abomination’ that could be ‘cured’. Funnily enough, Mr Robinson lost his seat shortly after it was revealed that Mrs Robinson had had an affair and secretly given her lover a load of money whilst sitting on the council that leased the premises to him.
Ian Paisley Jr another DUP MP, declared he was ‘pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think its is wrong.’
Unsurprisingly, Ruth Hunt, Chief Exec of LGBT rights charity Stonewall is concerned by Theresa May's plans to form a coalition with the DUP. 'We share the concerns of countless LGBT people, and our friends, of all political persuasions who are deeply anxious about the potential Democratic Unionist Party involvement in the new government,' she tells The Debrief.
'The DUP have a poor record on LGBT rights. Although the party leader claims they are not anti-LGBT, the DUP have vetoed same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland five times, despite a majority of the public and representatives being in favour. A party that constantly misuses its veto in this way is not a party that shares Stonewall’s values or the values of most people across the UK. LGBT rights need to be protected and extended under this government.'
As recently as 2011, the DUP called for a debate in parliament to reinstate the death penalty. This support has since waned, but still…death?
The party recently appointed a climate change denier to be environment minister in Northern Ireland
They want to make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people.
Last year the DUP's Trevor Clarke admitted that he did not know that hetrosexual people could contract HIV until a charity explained it to him. This was last year.
How to deal with this? Well, earlier Theresa May went to visit the Queen for lunch (lol) to tell her she wants to form a coalition government with the DUP.
It’s up to the Queen (yup) to give this the go-ahead, but it's essentially a formality. So, if you don’t want the DUP representing you in Parliament, and if you have a Conservative MP, email them right now and ask them to put pressure on May to reconsider her position.
And even if you don’t have a Conservative MP, you can still ask the MP you do have to put pressure on the Conservatives to not do this. Hey, even if you’re unlucky enough to have a DUP MP, you can put pressure on them by emailing them to remind them that they’re pro-Brexit, the majority of their constituents in Northern Ireland voted to remain, and ask them what they're doing buddying up with Theresa ‘Brexit means Brexit’ May anyway?
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15 June 2017: Edited to reflect the fact that the DUP have taken a pro-Brexit stance and campaigned to leave the EU.
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