Women, There Are Some Things You Should Know About The DUP

Theresa May forms Minority Gov
Photo by Getty

Theresa May’s decision to hold a General Election in order to increase her majority spectacularly backfired on her last week. Instead of a landslide win for the supposedly “strong and stable” Conservatives, it resulted in a hung Parliament, meaning that no party secured the 326 needed to form a majority government. With just 318 seats to the Labour party’s 262, the PM was left scrabbling around to find a like-minded party to give her the numbers she needs to form a minority government.

No deal has been officially announced, but it is looking highly likely that the party to come to Theresa May’s rescue is the DUP – the socially conservative, right-wing Northern Irish group that are pro-Brexit, pro-death penalty, pro-life and anti-gay rights. Oh, and they are supported by terrorist paramilitary groups, too. Suddenly the “coalition of chaos” tag she gave to Corbyn and co has boomeranged right back in her direction.

Here are a few things you need to know about them.

Leader Of The DUP Arlene Foster Addresses Possibility Of Election Coalition
DUP leader Arlene Foster and ministers – Photo by Getty

They Are Anti-Abortion And Anti Any Woman’s Right To Choose What She Does With Her Own Body

These guys are strict Christians, and therefore use this as an excuse to politicise women’s rights to have an abortion. Just two years ago, the party, who are the largest in Northern Ireland, submitted an amendment that not only suggested tightening the rules around abortion, but also proposed prison sentences to women who have had abortions carried out. Further more, Owen Paterson MP, a senior Tory minister and former Northern Ireland secretary, claimed during a Radio 4 interview over the weekend that a Con-DUP coalition could lead to “a debate on the further reduction of abortion times” in the UK.

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They Are The Reason Northern Ireland Is The Only UK Country To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

They do not support gay rights. In fact, they actively oppose them. In 2005, DUP founder’s son Ian Paisley Jr labelled homosexualityimmoral”, “offensive” and “obnoxious”, and said he was “repulsed” by the gay community. Meanwhile, Ian Paisley Senior is famed for having led a “Save Ulster From Sodomy” campaign. More recently in 2015, a majority of members of the Northern Irish Assembly voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. However, the DUP blocked the motion, and gay marriage is still not legal there.

All That Stuff About Corbyn Being A “Terrorist Sympathiser”? Well…

That’s not only untrue, but now also a completely hypocritical smear for Theresa May to have made on the Labour leader’s name. The DUP have long been supported by paramilitary groups the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Freedom Fighters. These armed groups brought terror to the streets of Northern Ireland during The Troubles and continue to operate today. DUP leader, Arlene Foster, has publicly rejected any support from paramilitary organisations, but its hard to let go of the past in this instance. Speaking to the Guardian on Friday morning, a DUP source labelled any alternative to a Conservative government “intolerable” and said that “for as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM”. This stems from Corbyn’s open discussions with Sinn Fein, the enemies of the DUP, who want Northern Ireland to be part of a united Ireland.

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They Are Pro Brexit

This is despite the fact most of Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. This is good for Theresa May, as they will lend her support during Brexit negotiations with the EU. However, unlike Mrs May, the DUP want to retain a “positive and ongoing” relationship with the EU, not the hard severing of apron strings the PM perhaps has in mind.

They Are Over-Flowing With Climate Change Deniers

Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement looked awful, but just wait until anyone attempts to push new climate change legislation through the UK Parliament with this lot on the benches. In 2009, their environmental minister was a climate change denier. They also tend to leave the whole issue of humans destroying the world we live on out of their manifestos, despite us having less than 80 years to stop New York and London disappearing under water. Think there’s a refugee crisis now? Just wait until the icecaps melt entirely.

They Want To Bring Back The Death Penalty

The death penalty was thankfully abolished in the UK in 1965 and in Northern Ireland in 1973. However, five DUP MPs called for a debate on legalising the death penalty in the House of Commons in 2011. “With victims’ families having called for the death sentence as an appropriate punishment, we should be turning our minds to whether our justice system deals appropriately with certain criminals,” they said.

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Rehabilitation, maybe? An equal and fairer society that helps vulnerable people turn away from crime in the first place? Just a few suggestions.

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