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Election 2017: Who are the DUP and what will happen next?

PUBLISHED: 14:44 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:44 09 June 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May, accompanied by her husband Philip, making a statement in Downing Street (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Prime Minister Theresa May, accompanied by her husband Philip, making a statement in Downing Street (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

With Prime Minister Theresa May announcing the Conservatives will form a minority government with support from the DUP, just who are the little-known party who could have a huge influence on politics in the next five years?

Who are the DUP?

The DUP, or Democratic Unionist Party, is one of three parties in Northern Ireland to win seats at the 2017 general election,

It won 10 of the 18 seats contested in the country.

Sinn Fein, which won in seven constituencies, traditionally does not take up its seats in parliament.

The final seat was won by an independent candidate.

What are their policies?

The DUP have a rather conservative stance on some social issues, and are against abortion and gay marriage.

The party wants no extension to Northern Ireland’s limitations on terminations, which restrict the procedure to when a woman’s life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

As it stands, fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest are not grounds for an abortion.

What have the DUP said about working with the Conservatives?

Gregory Campbell, MP in East Londonderry, set the ground rules before discussions were even scheduled.

“Where we can get a good deal and they agree with us, we will vote with them. If they attempt to put something in place that is a bad deal for everybody in Northern Ireland we will oppose it. That remains the case,” he said.

“Should it be down to one vote, that remains the case. We are not Northern Ireland Conservatives.”

What could they demand from a potential coalition?

The party’s manifesto gives an insight into what could be asked of Westminster.

The DUP wants a new public holiday in Northern Ireland to mark its centenary in 2021 and a cut in or abolition of the TV licence fee, as well as reform of the BBC.

It wants to maintain the common travel area between Ireland and the UK.

In terms of households, the party said it wants to see continued rises in the national living wage and personal tax allowances and protection of pensions.

The party has also considered the idea of abolishing air passenger duty. It wants to make tourism a £1 billion industry in Northern Ireland.

What will happen next?

Theresa May is set to announce her cabinet as early as this afternoon, and that could offer an insight into how close this relationship will be.

It may be a formal coalition, like the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed in 2010, or it may be a less formal partnership, which is steered by the Conservatives but influenced by the DUP’s wants and needs.

Talks are set to take place between the two parties over the weekend.

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