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​Who are the DUP and why does Theresa May need them after general election 2017?

By callumwilson  |  Posted: June 09, 2017

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Arlene Foster (pictured) is the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

Arlene Foster (pictured) is the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

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With the Conservative Party's failure to secure a majority at the 2017 general election, Theresa May has confirmed she is in talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

But who are they? What do they represent? What are their main policies and objectives?

These were just a number of questions circulating last night and drove so much web traffic about the party that the DUP's website crashed.

Read more: Take part in our general election poll - should Theresa May resign after hung parliament result?

If the Conservative Party is hopeful of being able to push legislation through, they will almost certainly need the backing of a DUP-sized political party to help them do it.

Who are they?

The DUP is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland and is led by Arlene Foster.

Currently, it is the largest party in Northern Ireland and the fifth biggest party in the House of Commons following last night's (June 8) vote.

The DUP currently hold ten seats at Westminster, eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and one solitary seat in the European Parliament.

Read more: General Election 2017 results for Kent as they happen

What do they represent?

The DUP has historically been linked to Protestant churches within Northern Ireland and is generally regarded as the more Ulster loyalist of the two major unionist parties.

This has altered slightly throughout the years, mainly due to Peter Robinson and his attempt to capture the vote of non-Protestants, focusing on socially conservative Catholics.

They are public backers of Brexit; however, they have a slightly different take on how to approach negotiations. The party is clear that they do not want a 'hard Brexit' due to their stance on having a hard border with Ireland.

What are their main policies and objectives?

The DUP are adamant that they want to maintain the pensions triple lock and winter fuel payments for the elderly, which is in direct conflict of interest with the Conservative party.

Other policy aims in their manifesto include prioritising spending on health service, creating jobs and increasing incomes, protecting family budgets and raising standards in education for everyone.

Perhaps more controversially, the DUP are anti-abortion, do not believe in climate change and don't think rights should be given to the LGBT community.

Northern Ireland is the only remaining country in the UK where same-sex marriage is illegal, due to the DUP using a veto to block any legislation trying to change legislation.

Read more from Kent Live

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