Theresa May’s reported deal with the DUP to allow her to cling to power has been dubbed the real “coalition of chaos” as commentators suggested the arrangement would be a “menace” to LGBT and women’s rights.
On Friday morning, as speculation moved from the PM’s possible resignation following Thursday’s shock hung parliament to her potential coalition partners, the little known Democratic Union Party became unlikely kingmakers.
The conservative Northern Ireland party, who oppose gay marriage and abortion rights, won eight seats, enough to push the Conservatives over the 326-seat threshold required to lead.
Sky News’ Beth Rigby said the DUP had confirmed to her that May has their backing, something the party’s leader earlier said on BBC Radio Ulster it was “considering”.
Guardian columnist and LGBT campaigner Owen Jones led the charge against the possible deal, writing that the party was a “menace”, while Channel 4’s Jon Snow said the party was “one of the most extreme political entities on the British Isles”.
Gerard Brolly wrote: “As a resident of Northern Ireland I can’t tell you how awful the thought of this is. They are the definition of out out touch dinosaurs.”
Attitude Magazine detailed the parities anti-gay stance in a string of damning tweets.
Foster told BBC Radio Ulster: “It will be difficult for her to survive given that she was presumed at the start of the campaign, which seems an awfully long time ago, to come back with maybe a hundred, maybe more, in terms of her majority.”
“Now we’re in the position we find ourselves in tonight so it will be an incredibly difficult evening for her.”
Foster said any discussions about an informal agreement would be over the weekend.
“It’s too soon to say what we are going to do yet, we need to see the final makeup of parliament and we need to reflect on that.
“There will be contact made over the weekend, but it is too soon to work out what we are going to do.”
Foster, according to Beth Rigby, of Sky News, said a deal with the Tories would “cost her (May) a lot... considerably more resources, more influence, more investment in trade deals.”
If May is ousted as Tory leader, her 330 days in office would be the shortest of any PM since Andrew Bonar Law in 1923.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the hot favourite to replace May who has so far said she will not be standing down.
The DUP is the largest in the devolved Northern Irish Assembly, backed Brexit and has consistently blocked attempts to introduce gay marriage or more liberal abortion laws to the province.
In Northern Ireland, the party defines itself by its unionist stance - its support of remaining part of the UK.
The party won two extra seats in what Foster called “a good night for the union”.
Its republican rivals Sinn Fein - who govern the province with the DUP - won seven seats but its MPs abstain from taking their seats. They reaffirmed this position on election night.
It is unlikely the DUP would enter any kind of deal with Labour.
Foster has previously said Jeremy Corbyn is “beyond the political pale” for his sympathy with the IRA at the height of the Troubles.