Instead of having a slim majority of 331 seats (326 required), a coalition between the Tories and DUP will give them a working majority of 329 or 328.
[DUP leader] Arlene Foster confirms she will be having talks with Theresa May about details of the arrangement with Northern Ireland party.
The Democratic Unionist leader and most recent first minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster, says she wants to “bring stability to our nation” by backing Theresa May and the Conservatives to continue in power.
Foster said in Belfast on Friday afternoon that she was entering discussions with May over the details of any arrangement that would prop up a minority government.
Foster said the election in Northern Ireland, which saw 10 DUP MPs, including two new ones, elected to the Commons, was a “great result” for the union.
The DUP leader said her party’s triumph and the result in Scotland, where the Scottish National party suffered losses, had “sent a clear and resounding message” to those who wished to tear the UK apart.
A DUP source said: “We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM.”
It has been reported that the two parties do not believe it necessary to enter a formal coalition to govern.
Senior DUP figures claimed they moved quickly to form an agreement to stop any chance of Corbyn entering No 10.
The DUP’s “price” for propping up a new Tory government will include a promise that there will be no separate post-Brexit status for Northern Ireland, the party’s leader in Westminster has confirmed.
Nigel Dodds, re-elected as MP for Belfast North, said that among the DUP’s conditions would be an insistence that there be no deal that would keep the region with one foot still in the EU.
The DUP fears that separate status after Brexit – a key demand of Sinn Féin – would decouple Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
“While we will focus on the special circumstances, geography and certain industries of Northern Ireland we will be pressing that home very strongly. Special status, however, within the European Union is a nonsense. Dublin doesn’t support it. Brussels doesn’t support it. The member states of the EU would never dream of it because it would open the door to a Pandora’s box of independence movements of all sorts. The only people who mentioned this are Sinn Féin.”
The DUP backed Brexit in last year’s EU referendum and regards as sacrosanct the UK’s decision to leave.
Late on Thursday night, Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin president, said his MPs would not be going to the House of Commons.
A senior Sinn Féin spokesman later told the Guardian there “wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell” of the party ditching its abstentionism regarding Westminster.
Hard Brexit More Likely?
Given DUP’s stance and given prior statements by Theresa May, the odds of securing some sort of deal with the EU certainly did not improve.
Other than the shock of not winning outright, coupled with some very bruised egos, not much changed on the surface. However, it remains to be seen what kind of high-wire act it takes of May to hold this all together.
As I asked last night, what will DUP demand for loyalty? Nonetheless, loyalty is a two-way street. The last thing DUP wants is Corbyn in power. The alliance may be stronger than most believe if, and this may be the nut to crack, May can hold all the Tories in line.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock