Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

UK gov't agrees outline deal with DUP for support - PA

The Northern Irish party has long remained on the fringes of mainstream British politics. "Theresa May is certainly the strongest leader that we have at the moment", lawmaker David Jones told the BBC.

"Gavin will have an important role to play in that".

May is under huge strain to keep the job she won less than a year ago.

The pound, at $1.295 Thursday before the election results, is down to $1.2741.

The DUP agreed to supporting to the government on a "confidence and supply" basis, which would involve it supporting a Conservative minority government on key votes in parliament but not forming a formal coalition partnership.

No.10 said in a statement this evening: "We welcome this commitment, which can provide the stability and certainty the whole country requires as we embark on Brexit and beyond".

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The Observer has learned that the DUP was planning to dodge a row when negotiations began by avoiding the inclusion of any controversial social policies, such as opposition to gay marriage or abortion, in its so-called "shopping list" of demands to the Tories.

The party has also supported a soft border with the Republic of Ireland, but it is unclear how this will affect plans for Brexit.

On Saturday Sammy Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, highlighted the issue of soldiers and policemen being prosecuted for their actions during the Troubles as another priority for the discussions with the Conservatives.

LGBTI people within the Conservative Government also shared concerns about the new coalition.

The DUP is "likely to increase the pressure on Theresa May to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement" in place of its single market membership, said Stephen Booth of the Open Europe think tank.

A petition launched against the Conservatives joining a coalition with the DUP has attracted nearly 450,000 signatures in 12 hours. We may have seen a record number of women gain seats in the parliament this week, but the 10 MPs of the anti-abortion, anti-equal marriage DUP look set to have a disproportionate influence which should concern us all.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip stand on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, London, after addressing the press Friday, June 9, 2017 following an audience with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace where she asked to form a government.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not legal, after DUP exercised a veto. That means the DUP will back the government on key votes, but it's not a coalition government or a broader pact. But one DUP source said: "Someone is stirring the pot with Ruth, who we regard as a hero of the union".

Former DUP Stormont minister Edwin Poots once hit out at a gay rugby team in Belfast, accusing it of introducing a sporting "apartheid" against heterosexual players.

The Protestant unionist party also had links with outlawed paramilitary groups during the years of Northern Ireland's "Troubles".

But she has been forced to persue a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to ensure she can still pass legislation through the House of Commons, where now a majority are fundamentally opposed to the majority of Tory policies.

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