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The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP; ga, Páirtí Aontachtach Daonlathach) is a unionist political party in
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
favouring
British
British
identity. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, who led the party for the next 37 years. Now led by Arlene Foster, it has, by a margin of one, the most seats in the
Northern Ireland Assembly The Northern Ireland Assembly, frequently referred to by the metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology The words '' ...
, and it is the fifth-largest party in the
House of Commons of the United Kingdom The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house and ''de facto'' primary chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons i ...

House of Commons of the United Kingdom
. The DUP evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party and has historically strong links to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the church Paisley founded. During the Troubles, the DUP were opposed to power-sharing with Irish nationalists or republicans as a means of resolving the conflict, and likewise rejected attempts to involve the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the ...

Republic of Ireland
in Northern Irish affairs. It campaigned against the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, and the
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trio ...
of 1998. In 2006, the DUP co-signed the St Andrews Agreement and agreed to share power with the republican party Sinn Féin who agreed to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Police Service, courts, and rule of law. The party has been linked to various loyalist paramilitary groups, namely Ulster Resistance (URM) and Third Force (Northern Ireland), Third Force. The URM was formed on 10 November 1986 by DUP politicians Paisley, Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster, with the stated aim to "take direct action as and when required" to bring down the Agreement and defeat republicanism. Recruitment rallies were held in towns across
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
and thousands were said to have joined. The following year, the URM helped smuggle a large shipment of weapons into Northern Ireland, which were shared out between the URM, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). In 1989, URM members attempted to trade Short Brothers, Shorts' missile blueprints for weapons from the apartheid South African regime."A spectre from the past back to haunt peace"
. ''Belfast Telegraph''. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
The party has been described as right-wing and social conservatism, socially conservative, being Anti-abortion movements, anti-abortion and opposing same-sex marriage. The DUP sees itself as defending Britishness and Ulster Protestant culture against Irish nationalism. The party is Eurosceptic and during the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, UK European Union (EU) referendum it supported the Brexit campaign in 2016. For most of the DUP's history, the Ulster Unionist Party was the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, but by 2004 the DUP had overtaken the UUP in terms of seats in the
Northern Ireland Assembly The Northern Ireland Assembly, frequently referred to by the metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology The words '' ...
and Parliament of the United Kingdom, Parliament. Following the St Andrews Agreement in 2006, the DUP agreed to enter into Consociationalism, power-sharing Devolution, devolved government in Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin. Despite reports of divisions within the party, a majority of the party executive voted in favour of power-sharing in 2007. However, the DUP's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jim Allister, and seven DUP councillors left the party in opposition to its plans to share power with Sinn Féin, founding the Traditional Unionist Voice. Peter Robinson (Northern Ireland politician), Peter Robinson became DUP leader in 2008, and was succeeded in turn by Arlene Foster in 2015.


History


1970s

The Democratic Unionist Party evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party, which itself grew out of the Ulster Protestant Action movement. The DUP was founded on 30 September 1971 by Ian Paisley, leader of the Protestant Unionist Party, and Desmond Boal, formerly of the Ulster Unionist Party. Paisley, a well-known Christian fundamentalism, Protestant fundamentalist minister, was the founder and leader of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. He would lead both the DUP and the Free Presbyterian Church for the next 37 years, and his party and church would be closely linked. When the DUP formed, Northern Ireland was in the midst of an ethnic-nationalist conflict known as the Troubles, which began in 1969 and would last for the next thirty years. The conflict began amid a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, campaign to end discrimination against the Irish Catholic, Catholic/Irish nationalism, Irish nationalist minority by the Protestant/unionist government and police force.Dominic Bryan. ''Orange Parades: The Politics of Ritual, Tradition and Control'', Pluto Press (2000), p. 94; . This protest campaign was opposed, often violently, by unionists who viewed it as an Irish republicanism, Irish republican front. Paisley had led the unionist opposition to the civil rights movement. The DUP were more hardline or Ulster loyalist, loyalist than the UUP and its founding arguably stemmed from worries of the Ulster Protestant working class that the UUP was not paying them enough heed. The DUP opposed the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. The Agreement was an attempt to resolve the conflict by setting up a new Northern Ireland Assembly (1973), assembly and Northern Ireland Executive (1974), government for Northern Ireland in which unionists and Irish nationalists would share power. The Agreement also proposed the creation of a Council of Ireland, which would facilitate co-operation between the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The DUP won eight seats in the 1973 Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1973 election to the Assembly. Along with other anti-Agreement unionists, the DUP formed the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) to oppose the Agreement. In the February 1974 United Kingdom general election, February 1974 UK election, the UUUC won 11 out of 12 Northern Ireland seats, while the pro-Agreement unionists failed to win any. On 15 May 1974, anti-Agreement unionists called Ulster Workers' Council strike, a general strike aimed at bringing down the Agreement. The strike coordinating committee included DUP leader Paisley, the other UUUC leaders, and the leaders of the Ulster loyalism#Paramilitary and vigilante groups, loyalist paramilitary groups. The strike lasted fourteen days and brought Northern Ireland to a standstill. Loyalist paramilitaries helped enforce the strike by blocking roads and intimidating workers. On the third day of the strike, loyalists Dublin and Monaghan bombings, detonated four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, killing 33 civilians. The strike led to the downfall of the Agreement on 28 May. Following the downfall of the Agreement, in 1975 the British government set up a Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, Constitutional Convention, an elected body of unionists and nationalists which would seek agreement on a political settlement for Northern Ireland. In the election to the convention, the UUUC (which included the DUP) won 53% of the vote. The UUUC opposed a power-sharing government and recommended only a return to majority rule (i.e. unionist rule). As this was unacceptable to nationalists, the convention was dissolved. The DUP opposed UK membership of the European Economic Community (EEC). In June 1979, in the 1979 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, first election to the European Parliament, Paisley won one of the three Northern Ireland seats. He topped the poll, with 29.8% of the first preference votes.A Chronology of the Conflict – 1979
. Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN).
He retained that seat in every European election until 2004, when he was replaced by Jim Allister, who resigned from the DUP in 2007 while retaining his seat.


1980s and 1990s

During 1981, the DUP opposed the then-ongoing talks between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Charles Haughey. That year, Paisley and other DUP members attempted to create a Protestant loyalist volunteer militia—called the (Ulster) Third Force (Northern Ireland), Third Force—which would work alongside the police and army to fight the Irish Republican Army (IRA). They organized large rallies where men were photographed in military formation waving Firearms license, firearms certificates. Paisley declared: "This is a small token of the men who are placed to devastate any attempt by Margaret Thatcher and Charles Haughey to destroy the Union". The DUP helped organize a loyalist 'Day of Action' on 23 November 1981, to pressure the British government to take a harder line against the IRA.A Chronology of the Conflict – 1981
, Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN)
Paisley addressed a Third Force rally in Newtownards, where thousands of masked and uniformed men marched before him. He declared: "My men are ready to be recruited under the crown to destroy the vermin of the IRA. But if they refuse to recruit them, then we will have no other decision to make but to destroy the IRA ourselves!" In December, Paisley claimed that the Third Force had 15,000–20,000 members. James Prior, Baron Prior, James Prior, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, replied that private armies would not be tolerated. The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by the British and Irish governments in November 1985, following months of talks between the two. The Agreement confirmed there would be no change in the status of Northern Ireland without principle of consent, the consent of a majority of its citizens, and proposed the creation of a new power-sharing government. It also gave the Irish government an advisory role on some matters in Northern Ireland. Both the DUP and UUP mounted a major protest campaign against the Agreement, dubbed "Ulster Says No". Both unionist parties resigned their seats in the British House of Commons, suspended district council meetings, and led a campaign of mass civil disobedience. There were strikes and mass protest rallies.Anglo-Irish Agreement – Chronology of Events
. Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN). Retrieved 12 September 2014.
On 23 June 1986, DUP politicians occupied the Parliament Buildings (Northern Ireland), Stormont Parliament Building in protest at the Agreement, while 200 supporters protested outside and clashed with police. The DUP politicians were forcibly removed by police the next day. On 10 July, Paisley and deputy DUP leader Peter Robinson led 4,000 loyalist supporters in a protest in which they 'occupied' the town of Hillsborough, County Down, Hillsborough. Hillsborough Castle is where the Agreement had been signed. On 7 August, Robinson led hundreds of loyalist supporters in Clontibret invasion, an invasion of the village of Clontibret, in the Republic of Ireland. The loyalists marched up and down the main street, vandalised property, and attacked two Irish police officers (Garda Síochána, Gardaí) before fleeing back over the border. Robinson was arrested and convicted for unlawful assembly. On 10 November 1986, a rally was held in which DUP politicians Paisley, Robinson and Ivan Foster announced the formation of the Ulster Resistance Movement (URM). This was a loyalist paramilitary group whose purpose was to "take direct action as and when required" to bring down the Agreement and defeat republicanism. Recruitment rallies were held in towns across Northern Ireland and thousands were said to have joined. The following year, the URM helped smuggle a large shipment of weapons into Northern Ireland, which were shared out between the URM, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Most, but not all, of the weaponry was seized by police in 1988. In 1989, URM members attempted to trade Short Brothers, Shorts' missile blueprints for weapons from the apartheid South African regime. Following these revelations, the DUP said that it had cut its links with the URM in 1987. In the mid-1980s, the Irish republican party Sinn Féin began to contest and win seats in local council elections. In response, the DUP fought elections under the slogan "Smash Sinn Féin" and vowed to exclude Sinn Féin councillors from all council business. Their 1985 manifesto said "The Sinn Féiners must be ostracised and isolated" at all local government bodies. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, DUP councillors attempted to exclude Sinn Féin councillors by ignoring them, boycotting their speeches, or drowning them out by making as much noise as possible – such as by heckling and banging tables. In early January 1994, the Ulster Defence Association released a document calling for the repartition of Ireland with the goal of making Northern Ireland wholly Protestant.Wood, Ian S. ''Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA''. Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Pages 184–185. The plan was to be implemented should the British Army withdraw from Northern Ireland. The Irish Catholic/nationalist-majority areas would be handed over to the Republic, and those left in the rump state would be "expelled, ethnic cleansing, nullified, or internment, interned". Sammy Wilson (politician), Sammy Wilson, then a DUP press officer and a future Northern Ireland Executive, Stormont minister and Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), MP, spoke positively of the document, calling it a "valuable return to reality" and lauded the UDA for "contemplating what needs to be done to maintain our separate Ulster identity".


1998–2004

During the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s, the DUP was initially involved in the negotiations under former United States Senator George J. Mitchell that led to the
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trio ...
of 1998, but withdrew in protest when Sinn Féin, an Irish republicanism, Irish republican party with links to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), was allowed to participate while the IRA kept its weapons. The DUP opposed the Agreement in the 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum, Good Friday Agreement referendum, in which the Agreement was approved with 71.1% of the electorate in favour. The DUP's opposition was based on a number of reasons, including: * The early release of paramilitary prisoners * The mechanism to allow Sinn Féin to hold government office despite ongoing IRA activity (of which it was the political wing) * The lack of accountability of ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive * The lack of accountability of the North/South Ministerial Council and North/South Implementation Bodies The DUP contested the 1998 Northern Ireland Assembly election that resulted from the Good Friday Agreement, winning 20 seats, the third-highest of any party. It then took up two of the ten seats in the multi-party power-sharing Executive. While serving as ministers, they refused to sit at meetings of the Executive Committee in protest at Sinn Féin's participation. The Executive ultimately collapsed over an alleged IRA espionage ring at Parliament Buildings (Northern Ireland), Stormont (see Stormontgate). The Good Friday Agreement relied on the support of a majority of unionists and a majority of nationalists in order for it to operate. During the 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the DUP argued for a "fair deal" that could command the support of both unionists and nationalists. After the results of this election the DUP argued that support was no longer present within unionism for the Good Friday Agreement. They went on to publish their proposals for devolution in Ireland entitled ''Devolution Now''. These proposals have been refined and re-stated in further policy documents including ''Moving on'' and ''Facing Reality''. In the 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the DUP won 30 seats, the most of any party. In January 2004, it became the largest Northern Ireland party at Parliament of the United Kingdom, Westminster, when MP Jeffrey Donaldson joined after defecting from the UUP. In December 2004, English MP Andrew Hunter (British politician), Andrew Hunter took the DUP whip after earlier withdrawing from the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party, giving the party seven seats, in comparison to the UUP's five, Sinn Féin's four, and the Social Democratic and Labour Party's (SDLP) three.


2005–2007

In the 2005 United Kingdom general election, 2005 UK general election, the party reinforced its position as the largest unionist party, winning nine seats, making it the fourth largest party in terms of seats in the British House of Commons behind Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In terms of votes, the DUP was the fourth largest party on the island of Ireland. At the 2005 Northern Ireland local elections, local government election of 2005, the DUP emerged as the largest party at local government level with 182 councillors across Northern Ireland's 26 district councils. The DUP had a majority of the members on Castlereagh (borough), Castlereagh Borough Council, which had long been a DUP stronghold and was home to party leader Peter Robinson (Northern Ireland politician), Peter Robinson, also in Ballymena (borough), Ballymena Borough Council, home to the party's founder Ian Paisley, and finally Ards (borough), Ards Borough Council. As well as outright control on these councils, the DUP was also the largest party in eight other councils – Antrim (borough), Antrim Borough Council, Ballymoney (borough), Ballymoney Borough Council, Banbridge (district), Banbridge District Council, Belfast City Council, Carrickfergus Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council, Craigavon Borough Council and Newtownabbey Borough Council. On 11 April 2006, it was announced that three DUP members were to be elevated to the House of Lords: Maurice Morrow, Wallace Browne, the former Lord Mayor of Belfast, and Eileen Paisley, a vice-president of the DUP and wife of DUP Leader Ian Paisley. None, however, sit as DUP peers. On 27 October 2006, the DUP issued a four-page letter in the ''Belfast Telegraph'' newspaper asking "Are the terms of Saint Andrew's a basis of moving forward to devolution?", with responses to be received to its party headquarters by 8 November. It was part of the party's policy of consultation with its electorate before entering a power-sharing government. On 24 November 2006, Ian Paisley refused to nominate himself as First Minister of Northern Ireland designate. There was confusion between all parties whether he actually said that if Sinn Féin supported policing and the rule of law that he would nominate himself on 28 March 2007 after the Assembly elections on 7 March 2007. The Assembly meeting was brought to an abrupt end when the building had to be evacuated because of a security breach. Paisley later released a statement through the press office stating that he did in fact imply that if Sinn Féin supported policing and the rule of law, he would go into a power-sharing government with them. This was following a statement issued by 12 DUP MLAs stating that what Ian Paisley had said in the chamber could not be interpreted as a nomination. In February 2007, the DUP suggested that it would begin to impose fines up to Pound sterling, £20,000 on members disobeying the party whip on crucial votes.Sunday Times, page 1.10, 4 February 2007 On 24 March 2007 the DUP party executive overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution put to them by the party officers that did not agree to an establishment of devolution and an executive in Northern Ireland by the Government's deadline of 26 March, but did agree to setting up an executive on 8 May 2007. On 27 March 2007, the party's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jim Allister, resigned from the party, in opposition to the decision to enter a power-sharing government with Sinn Féin. He retained his seat as an independent MEP as leader of his new hard-line anti-St Andrews Agreement splinter group that he formed with other disaffected members who had left the DUP over the issue, Traditional Unionist Voice, a seat which he retained until Diane Dodds won the seat back for the DUP in 2009. MP Gregory Campbell (politician), Gregory Campbell warned on 6 April 2007 that his party would be watching to see if benefits flow from its agreement to share power with Sinn Féin.


Robinson leadership

On 31 May 2008, the party's central Executive Committee met at the offices of Castlereagh (borough), Castlereagh Borough Council where Ian Paisley formally stepped down as party leader and Peter Robinson was ratified as the new leader, with Nigel Dodds as his deputy. On 11 June 2008, the party supported the government's proposal to detain terrorist suspects for up to 42 days as part of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008#42 day terrorist detention without charge, Counter-Terrorism Bill, leading ''The Independent'' newspaper to dub all of the party's nine MPs as part of "Brown's dirty dozen". ''The Times'' reported that the party had been given "sweeteners for Northern Ireland" and "a peerage for the Rev Ian Paisley", amongst other offers, to secure the bill. Members of the DUP were lambasted by the press and voters, after MPs' expenses reports were leaked to the media. Several newspapers referred to the "Swish Family Robinson" after Peter Robinson, and his wife Iris, claimed £571,939.41 in expenses with a further £150,000 being paid to family members. Further embarrassment was caused to the party when its deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, had the highest expenses claims of any Northern Ireland MP, ranking 13th highest out of all UK MPs. Details of all MPs' expenses claims since 2004 were published in July 2009 under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In January 2010, Peter Robinson was at the centre of a Iris Robinson scandal, high-profile scandal relating to his 60-year-old MP/MLA wife Iris Robinson's infidelity with a 19-year-old man, and alleged serious financial irregularities associated with the scandal. In the 2010 United Kingdom general election, 2010 general election, the party suffered a major upset when its leader, Peter Robinson, lost his Belfast East (UK Parliament constituency), Belfast East seat to Naomi Long of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, APNI on a swing of 22.9%. However, the party maintained its position elsewhere, fighting off a challenge from the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force in South Antrim (UK Parliament constituency), Antrim South and Strangford (UK Parliament constituency), Strangford and from Jim Allister's Traditional Unionist Voice in North Antrim (UK Parliament constituency), Antrim North. The DUP were strongly criticised after the Red Sky scandal in which DUP ministers attempted to influence a decision at a meeting of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The decision related to an £8 million contract of east Belfast firm Red Sky. The Housing Executive cancelled Red Sky's contract after a BBC ''Spotlight'' investigation into the company, which was shown to be overcharging taxpayers. The DUP cited "sectarian bias" in relation to the decision. The party suspended DUP councillor Jenny Palmer, who sat on the Executive board, after she confessed that DUP special adviser Stephen Brimstone pressured her into changing her vote at the meeting. In the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 2015 general election, when the result was expected to be a hung parliament, the issue of DUP and the UK Independence Party forming a coalition government with the Conservative Party (UK), UK Conservative Party was considered by Nigel Farage (leader of UKIP). The then Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, warned against this "Blukip" coalition, with a spoof website highlighting imagined policies from this coalition – such as reinstating the death penalty, scrapping all benefits for under 25s and charging for hospital visits. Additionally, issues were raised about the continued existence of the BBC (as the DUP, UKIP and Conservatives had made a number of statements criticising the institution) and support for same-sex marriage. However, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live deputy leader of the DUP Nigel Dodds told BBC Newsline that the DUP was "against discrimination based on religion ... or sexual orientation". On 10 September 2015, Peter Robinson stepped aside as First Minister and other DUP ministers, with the exception of Arlene Foster, resigned their portfolios.


Foster leadership

Arlene Foster became leader of the DUP on 17 December 2015, and served as First Minister of Northern Ireland from January 2016 to January 2017. Two days before the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, UK Brexit referendum, held on 23 June 2016, the DUP paid £282,000 for a four-page glossy wrap-around to the free newspaper ''Metro (British newspaper), Metro'', which is distributed in major towns and cities in the British mainland, but not Northern Ireland, advocating a 'Leave' vote. On 4 October 2016, First Minister Arlene Foster and DUP MPs held a champagne reception at the Conservative Party (UK) Conference, Conservative Party conference, marking what some have described as an "informal coalition" or an "understanding" between the two parties to account for the Conservatives' narrow majority in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons. The relationship between the parties was formalised after the 2017 United Kingdom general election with the signing of the Conservative–DUP agreement. In October 2017, the DUP held a similar reception at the Conservative Party conference, which was attended by leading Conservative figures including First Secretary of State Damian Green, Brexit Secretary David Davis (British politician), David Davis, then-Chief Whip Gavin Williamson, and Chairman of the Conservative Party, party chairman Patrick McLoughlin. This was reciprocated in November, when Damian Green and Conservative Chief Whip Julian Smith (politician), Julian Smith attended the DUP's conference, with Smith giving a keynote address. The third such annual DUP reception at the Conservative conference took place in October 2018, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson addressing the DUP conference a month later. Prominent Conservative MPs such as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Defence, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, former Secretary of State for International Development, International Development Secretary Priti Patel, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, Defence Select Committee chair Julian Lewis, and European Research Group chair Jacob Rees-Mogg headlined various fundraising events for the DUP from 2017 onwards. Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage also spoke at a DUP fundraiser in May 2018, with his main financial backer, Arron Banks, stating that he would support a bid by Farage to seek office as a DUP candidate after the end of his tenure as Member of the European Parliament in 2019. In her capacity as Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in 2012, Foster oversaw the establishment of a Environmentally friendly, green energy scheme, which led to the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. The scheme gave a perverse incentive to use more energy and increase their carbon footprint to those who signed up to it since they could claim £1.60 for every £1 spent on heating with, for example, wood pellets. With no cost controls, it could cost the public purse up to £490 million. Foster refused to resign or step aside during any inquiry into her role in the scheme, which in January 2017 led Martin McGuinness to resign and the Northern Ireland Executive to collapse. A snap election followed after Sinn Féin refused to re-nominate a deputy First Minister. In this 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly election, Northern Ireland Assembly election, held in March 2017, the DUP lost 10 seats, leaving them only one seat and 1,200 votes ahead of Sinn Féin, a result described by the ''Belfast Telegraph'' as "catastrophic". The withdrawal of the party whip from Jim Wells (politician), Jim Wells in May 2018 left the DUP on 27 seats, the same number as Sinn Féin. In the 2017 United Kingdom general election, 2017 UK general election, the DUP had 10 seats overall, 3 seats ahead of Sinn Féin. With no party having received an outright majority in the UK Parliament, the DUP entered into Conservative–DUP agreement, an agreement to support Second May ministry, government by the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party. A DUP source said: "The alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM." The DUP would later withdraw their support over new Prime Minister Boris Johnson's revised proposal for a deal with the EU. At the 2019 United Kingdom general election, 2019 UK general election, the DUP lost vote share and lost two of its seats.


Policies and views


Unionism

The Democratic Unionist Party are Unionism in Ireland, Ulster unionists, which means that they support Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom and are opposed to a united Ireland. The party sees itself as defending Britishness and Ulster Protestant culture against Irish nationalism and Irish republicanism, republicanism.James W. McAuley, Graham Spencer. ''Ulster Loyalism After the Good Friday Agreement''. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. p. 124"DUP fights back against 'erosion of Britishness'"
. The News Letter. 25 June 2008.
It supports marching rights for the loyalist Orange Order, which many DUP members are members of; is also in favour of Belfast City Hall flag protests, flying the British Union Flag from government buildings all year round. The DUP assert that "Culture of Ireland, Irish and Gaels, Gaelic culture should not be allowed to dominate funding" in Northern Ireland and have blocked proposed laws that would promote and protect the Irish language. The DUP are staunch supporters of the British security forces and their role in the Northern Ireland conflict. The party wants to prevent British soldiers and police officers from being prosecuted for killings committed during the conflict.


Ulster loyalism

The party has also been described as Right-wing populism, right-wing populist and containing some extremist tendencies. It is linked to the Ulster loyalist faction of unionism, which has been identified as a form of ethnic nationalism. The DUP was also recently endorsed at the 2017 United Kingdom general election, 2017 general election by the Loyalist Communities Council, an umbrella group of loyalist paramilitary groups, which are Terrorism Act 2000, proscribed terrorist organisations. However, the party leadership strongly rejected the endorsement, with party leader Arlene Foster stating: "We did not seek that statement, we did not seek endorsement from any paramilitary organisation and indeed I fundamentally reject an endorsement from anyone that's involved with paramilitarism or criminality."


Euroscepticism and foreign policy

The DUP is a Eurosceptic party that supported the UK's withdrawal from the European Union in 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 Brexit referendum and was the only party in the Stormont power executive to campaign for leave. The party opposes a hard Irish border, and wishes to maintain the Common Travel Area. East Antrim (UK Parliament constituency), East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson (politician), Sammy Wilson caused controversy in March 2016 during a ''BBC Spotlight'' episode discussing the implications of the EU referendum, when he was recorded agreeing with a member of the public who said that they wanted to leave the European Union and "get the ethnics out". Wilson stated "You are absolutely right". Wilson claimed he was agreeing with the desire to leave the European Union, not the "ethnics out" call. Wilson was criticised by the Polish consul in Northern Ireland and various other political parties. The DUP strongly oppose the Northern Ireland backstop seeing it as weakening Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom, and this opposition is regarded by a number of commentators as the main reason why the withdrawal agreement has Parliamentary votes on Brexit, not been ratified by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Since 2018, the DUP have said the Northern Ireland backstop must be removed from the Brexit withdrawal agreement if they are to continue to support Theresa May's government in the House of Commons, although the party has said that it is open to a time limit on the backstop. The DUP voted "No" in all three Parliamentary votes on Brexit, meaningful votes on the EU Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May. The DUP are strongly supportive of Israel, hewing to the hawkish end of the Israeli political spectrum.


Social policies

The DUP is Social conservatism, socially conservative and has strong links to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the small church founded by the party's founder Ian Paisley. The vast majority of DUP members are Evangelicalism, evangelical Christians and, on average, 65% of its representatives since the party was founded have been Free Presbyterians. The party also has links with the Caleb Foundation, a Protestant fundamentalist pressure group. The DUP has opposed LGBT rights in Northern Ireland. Party leaders—as well as many prominent party members—have condemned homosexuality, and a 2014 survey found that two-thirds of party members believe homosexuality is wrong. The DUP campaigned against the legalisation of homosexual acts, which it believed to be a "harmful deviance" linked to paedophilia, in Northern Ireland through the "Save Ulster from Sodomy" campaign between 1977–82, and the party has vetoed the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland since 2015, making Northern Ireland the only region of the UK where same-sex marriage is not permitted, although provision is now being made under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. Former DUP minister Jim Wells (politician), Jim Wells called the issue a Red line (phrase), "red line" for power-sharing talks, adding that "Peter will not marry Paul in Northern Ireland". The party attempted to introduce a "conscience clause" into law in Northern Ireland, which would let businesses refuse to provide a service if it went against their religious beliefs. This came after a Christian-owned bakery was taken to court for refusing to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan. Opponents argued that the clause would allow discrimination against LGBT people. Party members have campaigned strongly against any extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland, unanimously opposing a bill by Labour Party (UK), Labour MP Diana Johnson to protect women in England and Wales from criminal prosecution if they ended a pregnancy using pills bought online. They have opposed extra funding for international family planning programmes. Some DUP politicians have called for creationism to be taught in schools, and for museums to include creationism in their exhibits. In 2007, a DUP spokesman confirmed that these views were in line with party policy. In 2011, the DUP called for a debate in the House of Commons over bringing back the Capital punishment in the United Kingdom, death penalty for some serious crimes such as murder or rape.


Economic and fiscal policies

The DUP is in favour of keeping the State Pension (United Kingdom)#Pensions Act 2007, "triple lock" for pensions, the Winter Fuel Payment, Winter Fuel Allowance, and greater spending in Northern Ireland for services such as health. The DUP has also revived calls for a 25-mile sea bridge to link Northern Ireland with Scotland. Calls for a feasibility study into the £20 billion British Isles fixed sea link connections, project have previously been made.


Leadership

Founder Ian Paisley led the party from its foundation in 1971 onwards, and retired as leader of the party in spring 2008. Paisley was replaced by former deputy leader Peter Robinson (Northern Ireland politician), Peter Robinson on 31 May 2008, who in turn was replaced by Arlene Foster on 17 December 2015.


Party leader

The following are the terms of office as party leader and as First Minister of Northern Ireland:


Deputy leader


Northern Ireland Executive Ministers


Westminster

;Party leaders at Westminster ;Party Chief Whip at Westminster ;Party spokespersons at Westminster


Representatives


Parliament of the United Kingdom

Members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons following 12 December 2019 general election: * Gregory Campbell (politician), Gregory Campbell – East Londonderry (UK Parliament constituency), East Londonderry * Jeffrey Donaldson – Lagan Valley (UK Parliament constituency), Lagan Valley * Paul Girvan – South Antrim (UK Parliament constituency), South Antrim * Carla Lockhart – Upper Bann (UK Parliament constituency), Upper Bann * Ian Paisley Jr. – North Antrim (UK Parliament constituency), North Antrim * Gavin Robinson – Belfast East (UK Parliament constituency), Belfast East * Jim Shannon – Strangford (UK Parliament constituency), Strangford * Sammy Wilson (politician), Sammy Wilson – East Antrim (UK Parliament constituency), East Antrim Members of the House of Lords * Wallace Browne, Baron Browne of Belmont, The Lord Browne of Belmont * William Hay, Baron Hay of Ballyore, The Lord Hay of Ballyore * Maurice Morrow, Baron Morrow, The Lord Morrow * William McCrea, Baron McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown, The Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown * Nigel Dodds, The Lord Dodds of Duncairn


Northern Ireland Assembly

Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly elected in May 2016: * Sydney Anderson (British politician), Sydney Anderson – Upper Bann (Assembly constituency), Upper Bann * Jonathan Bell (politician), Jonathan Bell – Strangford (Assembly constituency), Strangford * Maurice Bradley – East Londonderry (Assembly constituency), East Londonderry * Paula Bradley – Belfast North (Assembly constituency), Belfast North * Joanne Bunting – Belfast East (Assembly constituency), Belfast East * Keith Buchanan – Mid Ulster (Assembly constituency), Mid Ulster * Thomas Buchanan (Unionist politician), Thomas Buchanan – West Tyrone (Assembly constituency), West Tyrone * Pam Cameron – South Antrim (Assembly constituency), South Antrim * Trevor Clarke – South Antrim (Assembly constituency), South Antrim * Sammy Douglas – Belfast East (Assembly constituency), Belfast East * Gordon Dunne – North Down (Assembly constituency), North Down * Alex Easton – North Down (Assembly constituency), North Down * Arlene Foster – Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Assembly constituency), Fermanagh and South Tyrone * Paul Frew – North Antrim (Assembly constituency), North Antrim * Paul Girvan – South Antrim (Assembly constituency), South Antrim * Paul Givan – Lagan Valley (Assembly constituency), Lagan Valley * Brenda Hale (Northern Ireland politician), Brenda Hale – Lagan Valley (Assembly constituency), Lagan Valley * Simon Hamilton – Strangford (Assembly constituency), Strangford * David Hilditch – East Antrim (Assembly constituency), East Antrim * William Humphrey (Northern Ireland politician), William Humphrey – Belfast North (Assembly constituency), Belfast North * Carla Lockhart – Upper Bann (Assembly constituency), Upper Bann * William Irwin (Unionist politician), William Irwin – Newry and Armagh (Assembly constituency), Newry and Armagh * Phillip Logan – North Antrim (Assembly constituency), North Antrim * Gordon Lyons – East Antrim (Assembly constituency), East Antrim * Nelson McCausland – Belfast North (Assembly constituency), Belfast North * Michelle McIlveen – Strangford (Assembly constituency), Strangford * Adrian McQuillan – East Londonderry (Assembly constituency), East Londonderry * Gary Middleton – Foyle (Assembly constituency), Foyle * Lord Morrow – Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Assembly constituency), Fermanagh and South Tyrone * Robin Newton – Belfast East (Assembly constituency), Belfast East * Emma Little-Pengelly – Belfast South (Assembly constituency), Belfast South * Edwin Poots – Lagan Valley (Assembly constituency), Lagan Valley * George Robinson (Northern Ireland politician), George Robinson – East Londonderry (Assembly constituency), East Londonderry * Christopher Stalford – Belfast South (Assembly constituency), Belfast South * Alastair Ross – East Antrim (Assembly constituency), East Antrim * Mervyn Storey – North Antrim (Assembly constituency), North Antrim * Peter Weir (politician), Peter Weir – North Down (Assembly constituency), North Down * Jim Wells (politician), Jim Wells – South Down (Assembly constituency), South Down


Election results


General election results


Northern Ireland Assembly election results


See also

* List of Democratic Unionist Party MPs * List of Northern Ireland Members of the House of Lords * British Isles fixed sea link connections * :Democratic Unionist Party scandals, Democratic Unionist Party scandals


References


External links

*
Democratic Unionist Party Facebook

Democratic Unionist Party Twitter

Democratic Unionist Party YouTube channel
{{Authority control Democratic Unionist Party, 1971 establishments in Northern Ireland Political parties established in 1971 Organizations that oppose same-sex marriage Social conservative parties National conservative parties Eurosceptic parties in the United Kingdom Right-wing populist parties Right-wing populism in the United Kingdom Protestant political parties