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As a full picture of results began to emerge in the wake of the UK General Election, politicians, commentators, the public and began to wonder what form a new British government would take.

As dawn broke over Westminster, it became clear that Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May, would not hold a majority of seats within the parliament. Immediately, questions emerged as to who the Conservatives could form a working relationship with in order to create a government. Other parties had been tagged with the title of ‘Progressive Alliance’, a loose collection of shared aspirations and policies which would be an antithesis of the Conservative agenda.

Therefore, it was dwindled down to one party which had an excellent performance by its own standards during the election. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is a political organisation which runs in elections in northern Ireland. In the strange territory that is northern Irish politics, the DUP are possibly the strangest of them all. With similarities to politics espoused by Trump supporters in the United States, the DUP are largely seen to be on the fringes of British politics, and for most of their history have wildly been ignored by the Westminster establishment.

Founded in the 1970s by Reverend Ian Paisley, a firebrand Presbyterian Minister, it was established as the effective political wing of his Free Presbyterian Church. Finding support amongst a conservative element in northern Ireland, Ian Paisley, came to prominence for his outburst against the perceived evils of modern society, the Catholic Church, homosexuality and a whole array of liberal ideas. In 1988, as a Member of the European Parliament, Paisley caught public attention for heckling Pope John Paul II during a speech. His views, and the views of his party harked back to a 19th century puritanism, not generally common in modern European politics.

Today, the DUP are the largest political party in northern Ireland, winning 10 seats in the general election. In the strange game of politics, where once they were a party on the fringes, they have now been plunged into the centre of a debate on Britain’s future. Theresa May has announced that she will ask for their support in an effort to form a government. In such a position, this party could wield a surprising amount of influence on government, but what are their policies?

The DUP are notorious climate change deniers. One of their leading members, Sammy Wilson, has repeatedly denied the effects caused on the environment by carbon emissions. Recently, he slammed Queens University Belfast for divesting from fossil fuels. He has been accused of making northern Ireland the laughing stock of the world for his views on climate change.

Abortion is an issue that the DUP are steadfastly against. When their party member Jim Wells was Health Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, he caused massive controversy when he said that abortion should not even be available for victims of rape. Described as “living in the dark ages”, the views of Jim Wells and the DUP are starkly at odds with the rest of the United Kingdom. Throughout the UK abortion is widely available to women.

As a full picture of results began to emerge in the wake of the UK General Election, politicians, commentators, the public and began to wonder what form a new British government would take. As dawn broke over Westminster, it became clear that Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May, would not hold a majority of seats within the parliament. Immediately, questions emerged as to who the Conservatives could form a working relationship with in order to create a government. Other parties had been tagged with the title of ‘Progressive Alliance’, a loose collection of shared aspirations and policies which would be an antithesis of the Conservative agenda. Therefore, it was dwindled down to one party which had an excellent performance by its own standards during the election.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is a political organisation which runs in elections in northern Ireland. In the strange territory that is northern Irish politics, the DUP are possibly the strangest of them all. With similarities to politics espoused by Trump supporters in the United States, the DUP are largely seen to be on the fringes of British politics, and for most of their history have wildly been ignored by the Westminster establishment. Founded in the 1970s by Reverend Ian Paisley, a firebrand Presbyterian Minister, it was established as the effective political wing of his Free Presbyterian Church. Finding support amongst a conservative element in northern Ireland, Ian Paisley, came to prominence for his outburst against the perceived evils of modern society, the Catholic Church, homosexuality and a whole array of liberal ideas. In 1988, as a Member of the European Parliament, Paisley caught public attention for heckling Pope John Paul II during a speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlbmIMbKZa4. His views, and the views of his party harked back to a 19th century puritanism, not generally common in modern European politics. Today, the DUP are the largest political party in northern Ireland, winning 10 seats in the general election. In the strange game of politics, where once they were a party on the fringes, they have now been plunged into the centre of a debate on Britain’s future. Theresa May has announced that she will ask for their support in an effort to form a government. In such a position, this party could wield a surprising amount of influence on government, but what are their policies? The DUP are notorious climate change deniers. One of their leading members, Sammy Wilson, has repeatedly denied the effects caused on the environment by carbon emissions. Recently, he slammed Queens University Belfast for divesting from fossil fuels. He has been accused of making northern Ireland the laughing stock of the world for his views on climate change. Abortion is an issue that the DUP are steadfastly against. When their party member Jim Wells was Health Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, he caused massive controversy when he said that abortion should not even be available for victims of rape.

Described as “living in the dark ages”, the views of Jim Wells and the DUP are starkly at odds with the rest of the United Kingdom. Throughout the UK abortion is widely available to women. How old planet earth is might not be an issue you would expect to appear on the political radar of a party in the western world, but for the DUP it’s a pertinent topic. Based on fundamentalist tradition of the party, DUP elected officials have called for creationism to be taught in schools in order to counter evolutionary teachings.

Considering the diversity of British society, how Christian creationist theory would blend with the country’s education system might be a difficult question for a future government. How would Theresa May govern on important issue such as the Paris Agreement, when DUP members believe that the world is only 10,000 years old? The party has been on the receiving end of much criticism for their beliefs on homosexuality. Repeated attempts to introduce same-sex marriage into northern Ireland have been repeatedly blocked at a regional level by the DUP. One politician came under fire for telling school children that homosexuality was an abomination. Another elected member claimed that only gay people could become infected with HIV. These views are clearly at odds with mainstream British society. However, by the nature of politics, the Conservative Party have found themselves scrambling to make up the numbers to form a government. What could now occur is the arrival of Trump style policies in British politics. As Britain prepares itself for negotiations with the EU on Brexit, it now seems possible that the government will be pushed further to the right of the political spectrum.

How old planet earth is might not be an issue you would expect to appear on the political radar of a party in the western world, but for the DUP it’s a pertinent topic. Based on fundamentalist tradition of the party, DUP elected officials have called for creationism to be taught in schools in order to counter evolutionary teachings. Considering the diversity of British society, how Christian creationist theory would blend with the country’s education system might be a difficult question for a future government. How would Theresa May govern on important issue such as the Paris Agreement, when DUP members believe that the world is only 10,000 years old?

The party has been on the receiving end of much criticism for their beliefs on homosexuality. Repeated attempts to introduce same-sex marriage into northern Ireland have been repeatedly blocked at a regional level by the DUP. One politician came under fire for telling school children that homosexuality was an abomination. Another elected member claimed that only gay people could become infected with HIV.

These views are clearly at odds with mainstream British society. However, by the nature of politics, the Conservative Party have found themselves scrambling to make up the numbers to form a government. What could now occur is the arrival of Trump style policies in British politics. As Britain prepares itself for negotiations with the EU on Brexit, it now seems possible that the government will be pushed further to the right of the political spectrum.

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