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UK: Tory-led Coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party – A focus on the DUP Agenda

From WN

After today’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for her continued leadership, and forthcoming Tory-led coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, multiple media reports said.

After gaining 10 seats in the new parliament, a DUP source told The Guardian, “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.”

The DUP fears separate status after Brexit – a key demand of Sinn Féin – would decouple Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Nigel Dodds, a re-elected MP for Belfast North, said among the DUP’s conditions would be an insistence there be no deal that would keep the region with one foot still in the EU.

With one eye on the Brexit negotiations that begin in the next 10 days, Dodds said: “There are special circumstances in Northern Ireland and we will try to make sure these are recognized. As regards demands for special status within the European Union, no. Because that would create tariffs and barriers between Northern Ireland and our single biggest market, which is the rest of the United Kingdom.”

In addition, Dodds said, “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 Guardian reported Dodds saying.

But with the London seat of Kensington yet to declare, the Tories are on 318 seats, ahead of Labour on 261, the SNP 35 and the Lib Dems on 12. The DUP won 10 seats.

As it stands, the Tories and the DUP combined would have 328 MPs in the Commons, giving it a wafer-thin majority although as Sinn Fein will not be taking its seven seats, the new administration will have slightly more room for maneuver, the BBC reported.

The Conservatives have argued in the event of a hung Parliament, May gets the opportunity to form a government first, as her predecessor David Cameron did in 2010 when there was also no clear winner but the party had comfortably more seats than their nearest rival, the report said.

Meanwhile, Labour has said it is also ready to form a minority government of its own, after far exceeding expectations by picking up 29 seats in England, Wales and Scotland, the report said.

But even if it joined together in a so-called progressive alliance with the SNP, Lib Dems, Green Party and Plaid Cymru, it would only reach 313 seats – well short of the 326 figure needed., Jack Durschlag

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UPDATE: FINAL COUNT – CON 318; LAB 262; SNP 35; LD 12; DUP 10; OTH 13


Tory chief whip in Belfast talks with DUP

From BBC

The Conservative Party’s chief whip is meeting with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Belfast as talks over forming a government continue.

A Downing Street spokesman said Gavin Williamson was meeting the party “on how best they can provide support to the government”.

Theresa May is seeking to form a government with the support of the DUP.

A former DUP MLA has said he does not expect a deal to last more than 12 or 18 months.

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