Theresa May called the general election claiming it was a referendum on her plans for Brexit, and her leadership of the country. The results were resounding: no, thank you. But instead of standing down, May is doing a deal behind closed doors. And with one of the most regressive political parties in the UK.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland won just 1.5% of the vote. But they have been made kingmakers by Theresa May, who has won their backing to keep Jeremy Corbyn from forming a government. With the Conservatives on 318 seats and the DUP on 10, DUP backing gives the Conservatives the necessary votes to put their Queen’s speech through parliament and form a government.
But who are the DUP? What do they stand for?
While Sinn Fein and other parties have attempted to lift the ban on same-sex marriage, the DUP blocked equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland. But this should come as little surprise from the party whose former leader ran the ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy‘ campaign, opposing the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1977. And as recently as last year, DUP politician Trevor Clarke stated in the Northern Ireland Assembly that he didn’t know heterosexuals could get or transmit HIV.
And when it comes to women’s rights, the DUP is equally regressive.
Despite 70% of voters in Northern Ireland backing a change in abortion law, DUP leader Arlene Foster vows to retain the almost total ban on terminations. Including in cases of rape and incest. And this despite a High Court ruling which found forcing women to persist with pregnancies borne of sexual violence is ‘incompatible’ with their human rights.
As openDemocracy describes, the party also has “strong historical links with Loyalist paramilitary groups” which have been involved in acts of terrorism.
This is the party that Theresa May is doing a deal with, in her desperate bid to stay at number 10 Downing Street.
Enough is enough
Calls are coming from all sides of the political spectrum for May to admit defeat, and resign. Even from her own party.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has stated that his party is willing and able to form a minority government if May’s deal with the DUP falls through. The Conservative Party has already put party before country twice. First, with the EU Referendum. Then with this snap general election. And now, Theresa May is set to make the same mistake again with this grubby little deal with the DUP. It might keep her premiership on life support in the short term, but the stain will tarnish her party for a long, long time to come.
– Sign the petition of no confidence in a Conservative/DUP coalition.
– Make your thoughts on the deal known. Contact your MP and be vocal on social media.
Featured image via YouTube screengrab