POLITICS

Theresa May To Meet The Queen Amid DUP Deal As She Defies Calls For Her Resignation

The Prime Minister believes she can form a Government

09/06/2017 10:32 BST | Updated 09/06/2017 12:03 BST
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DUP deal: Theresa May saw her slim Commons majority wiped out in the General Election

Theresa May will defy calls for her resignation this afternoon when she meets the Queen to ask for permission to form a Government.

The Prime Minister saw her slim Commons majority wiped out in the General Election, meaning she will be relying on the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up the Tories in the Commons.

Tory MP Anna Soubry has joined with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell in calling for May to quit Downing Street after a disastrous election for the Conservatives.

The Conservatives lost 12 seats while Labour gained 29 – with one seat still to be declared.

That leaves the Tories on 318 seats – eight shy of the 326 needed to win the election outright.

May will rely on the support of the DUP – which picked up 10 seats – in order to get her legislation through the Commons.

However, it will not be a formal coalition like the deal the Tories struck with the Lib Dems in 2010, meaning the risk of a Government collapse is high.

May will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm to tell the monarch she can still form a Government. 

John McDonnell earlier imposed a deadline on May to form a government before Labour steps in.

The shadow chancellor said the Prime Minister has until the end of the weekend to strike a deal to put her back into Number 10, or step aside to allow her rivals to form a coalition.

Jeremy Corbyn, arriving back at Labour Party headquarters on Friday morning to rapturous applause, said he is ‘ready to serve this country’.

“That’s what we fought this election for and this is the programme we put forward,” he added.

When asked if he would do any deals with the SNP or Lib Dems, Corbyn said: “We are offering to put forward the programme on which we fought the election.

“We have done no deals and no pacts with anyone.

“We are there as the Labour Party, with our points of view, everyone knows what they are and everyone can see the huge increase in support because of the way we conducted the election and the nature of the programme we put forward.”

Who Are The DUP? Meet The Northern Irish Political Party Set To Prop Up The Tories

You may know nothing about them, but the Democratic Unionist Party and the DUP policies might be about to take on a pivotal role in British politics.

The conservative Northern Irish party’s 10 MPs are likely the only option the Conservatives have to govern effectively, as they fall just short of a majority in the House of Commons.

The party, 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. Now, the Democratic Unionist Party will have a large part to play in UK politics after the hung parliament result in the general election.

L-R: DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, leader Arlene Foster and former leader Peter Robinson cheer a DUP candidate’s victory in Belfast

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 leader Arlene 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.

When Foster was eight, she witnessed an IRA attack on her father, a policeman, outside the family home. He was shot and crawled into the family home covered in blood but survived.

The DUP’s manifesto also backs Trident, which would further put them at odds with Labour.

Foster has said Theresa May is “well within political mainstream”.

The prime minister has made overtures to the DUP before. Both Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds were invited to the Tory Party conference last year.

They met the prime minister in October and afterwards Foster praised her “characteristically practical and responsible manner”.

May’s Christian faith could make her a more palatable ally to the socially conservative party.

Though the DUP backed Brexit, Northern Ireland voted to remain and leaving the EU raises the prospect of a damaging new border with the Republic of Ireland - the UK’s only land border.

The DUP is already preparing to tell the Tories it will only prop them up if they agree to only pursue a soft Brexit and remain in the Single Market, according to reports.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the party would be a in a “very, very strong negotiating position” if the Tories asked for their help.

“This is perfect territory for the DUP obviously because if the Conservatives are just short of an overall majority, it puts us in a very, very strong negotiating position and it is one we would take up with relish,” he told the BBC.

“We will be serious players if there is a hung parliament. We will talk to whoever is the largest party, it looks like the Conservatives.

“We have a lot in common, we want to see Brexit work, we want to see the Union strengthened. I think there is a lot of common ground.”

Jeffrey Donaldson said the DUP would be a ‘in a very strong negotiating position’ if the Tories want to do a deal
 

As the results came in on election night, Foster said: “We are very pleased with the way in which people have reacted to the positive message of the campaign.

“It was about the Union, the importance of the Union, and unionists have really come out in their numbers.

“We fought this election on the importance of the Union and I think people really responded to that.”

Northern Ireland’s assembly and executive are both suspended and the DUP and Sinn Fein are negotiating on their restoration.

They were both suspended in January when Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister, which automatically triggered the downfall of the province’s power-sharing government.