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We strengthen the DUP power brokers

 

 

The DUP’s leader at Westminster says those who hold different views on social issues like gay marriage and abortion have no reason to fear the Northern party’s influence there.

Nigel Dodds MP, who has been negotiating a confidence and supply agreement with Downing Street, told Sky News he and colleagues had been misrepresented as dinosaurs.

He said: People can always go back through the archives of any political party and find individuals saying things or policies from 20, 30 years ago.

But they need to read our manifesto and look at the recent years in Northern Ireland where the DUP has been the main partner in government with republicans to move this province forward.

In his most famous speech, the Rev Ian Paisley, who founded the DUP, thundered that there would never, never, never be a role for Dublin in Northern Ireland.

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness found a way to forge a partnership The firebrand preacher fiercely opposed Sinn Fein but historically compromised to share power with Martin McGuinness, signalling a new, more pragmatic era for unionism.

His son, Ian Paisley junior MP, said: He was a man with a very strong faith and he would have said this is a time where you seek God’s help and where you seek to have that wisdom to take the country forward.

But he was also a deal-maker and a very good businessman and he would have taken the approach to make sure you get the very, very best deal for our people, the very, very best deal for our nation.

Nearly 300,000 people voted DUP in the General Election, some of them because of its social conservatism, others in response to a surge in the Sinn Fein vote at Stormont.

Six months after the devolved administration collapsed over a public finance scandal, the DUP is holding the balance of power in Westminster and under the national spotlight.

Mick Fealty, who runs the political blogging site Slugger O’Toole, said: “I think their social conservatism is not anything that mainstream politics in England has experienced at any time really since the 1950s.

I think they’re reeling from the shock of thinking that this medieval-looking party is going to have a major influence in British politics.

But the party could find itself with less influence at home if any deal it strikes with the Tories negatively impacts on attempts to restore devolved government at Stormont.

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