May relying on Northern Irish Unionists

The ultraconservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is to play the role of kingmaker in the UK. Theresa May wants to form a Tory minority government supported by the Northern Irish Unionists. How expedient - or dangerous - is this alliance?

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Naftemporiki (GR) /

A dangerous plan for all sides

Naftemporiki doesn't believe that a DUP-supported minority government would last for long:

“Two years ago there were also discussions about the DUP lending its support. Bloomberg stated back then that such support would mean a billion pounds in additional costs for Northern Ireland. No doubt the political cost will be even higher for May. Many people believe the new government won't last for long. ... If current developments mean uncertainty for Britain, what consequences will they have for the EU and the Brexit negotiations? Officials in Brussels, Berlin and Paris have become very careful and sparing with their comments on the subject. ... Because they know: if May's own goal leads not to a soft Brexit (or even to no Brexit at all, as some are saying) but instead to a Brexit without an agreement, everyone stands to lose.”

The Guardian (GB) /

No need for concessions to the DUP

If the DUP wants to prevent a Labour government it will support May's government without a formal agreement, the Guardian predicts:

“May's Tories are only seven MPs short of a majority. She is therefore in a strong position - much stronger than Labour would be, for example - to run an effective minority government. Minority governments always have to make deals as they go along, but it is practically inconceivable that the DUP would be tempted to join with all the opposition parties to vote the Tories down, especially as that defeat might open the door to a Labour government headed by Jeremy Corbyn, whose views on Ireland the DUP absolutely abhors.”

The Independent (GB) /

May jeopardising Northern Ireland peace process

The decision to form an alliance with Northern Ireland's DUP is a major mistake according to the Independent:

“They cannot act as honest brokers or retain the confidence of nationalists and republicans - nor the other unionist parties. This deal sacrifices the Irish peace process for the sake of May clinging on to her power, and that is dishonourable and dangerous because it puts lives at risk via a return to terror. Additionally, Northern Ireland will now receive disproportionate attention and financial support compared to other regions in the UK such as Lancashire or Suffolk.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

A golden opportunity for Ireland

The Irish Independent, by contrast, sees the DUP being able to have its say in London as a major advantage:

“[Ireland's prime minister designate] Leo Varadkar, who got along well with Foster when they coincided as tourism ministers over three years, will know of her passion for the United Kingdom. But he will also realise that she means it when she said that she wants a soft Brexit that 'respects the specific circumstances of Northern Ireland, and, of course, our shared history and geography with the Republic of Ireland'. And that the DUP's new importance in Westminster can be used to the advantage of the whole island of Ireland. This is a golden opportunity to forge a close alliance between politicians north and south, so that they present a united front to London and Brussels.”