DUP back in Downing St while Adams was in Antrim police station – shock

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Nick Watt of the Guardian is that rare thing in the Westminster lobby, a Sinn Fein watcher. Here he enters DUP territory with a flyer about what the DUP might do if they hold the balance of power in the next Parliament, with the Tories the largest single party. A little party was held in the No 10 garden just after a meeting about putting pressure on Libya to compensate Troubles. This story looks like Nick’s follow up to the Telegraph exclusive we noted.  I’m afraid I’m no more excited about the  follow up than the original. What are the DUP’s terms? What could Cameron give them that they could possibly want? More than more more, money? What can Red Ed offer in reply?

The subsequent reception in the garden, attended by the DUP’s MPs and Robinson, was held on the evening that Gerry Adams was arrested by police investigating the disappearance of Jean McConville in 1972.

The MPs were given the impression that Cameron was going out of his way to lay on the charm by allowing his children to play among the guests as drinks, including non-alcoholic ones for the teetotal drinkers, were served.

One senior DUP source told the Guardian: “It would be fair to say that a lot of wooing is going on. You don’t invite eight parliamentarians to such a reception and have the children playing round unless you are seriously interested.”

The DUP is drawing up the demands it would table as the price for supporting Cameron in the event of a hung parliament. The party is keen to use the opportunity to secure funding for pet projects.

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  • Mc Slaggart

    The Union is safe in the hands of a Conservative /UKip/ Ulster Unionists.

    Forget about Scotland, Wales will become independent to get away from that crowd.

  • Newman

    No wonder recovering East Belfast important. Cannot help thinking however that DUP are not natural Tories particularly Cameron’s libertarian post modern brand.

  • Morpheus

    Prostituting himself and his party for 8 votes from people who will bend over for the highest bidder – what a classy bunch of guys :)

  • Charles_Gould

    I understand that devolution of corpo tax is a top DUP demand. They like the idea of going for economic bargaining chips, as they see these as easy to defend.

  • Barney

    Morpheus wrote “Prostituting himself and his party”

    No he did not Cameron was buying and the DUP selling, the only thing Cameron sold here was the Official Unionists.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s been common knowledge for some time now that the Tories have been getting friendly with the DUP, although this is probably the first time the story has been exposed in public.

    The DUP are naturally going to milk a thing like this as far as they possibly can.

    I doubt we are talking about a full on coalition with DUP ministers in cabinet in London. It’s more likely that the DUP are getting some advance notice on what the Tories are planning after 2015 and their support is being signed up for those plans.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Barney,

    The UUP no longer exist in Westminster and accordingly are a spent force. The DUP are currently the second-largest opposition party.

  • tacapall

    Charles why would the DUP not demand the British government somehow engineer a negative response from our British overlord to any demand for a referendum by Sinn Fein in 2016. Ironically if the envisaged situation arises and depending on how bad the numbers are Sinn Fein and the DUP could bargain their way into government on both sides of the Irish sea.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I find it funny listening to Martin McGuinness complaining about the DUP in this way. Of course, he is right to say the British are playing a dangerous game.

    But – if SF MPs took their seats they could mostly cancel out whatever undue influence the DUP are attempting to exercise; especially in the possible, although only distantly likely, scenario where Gerry Kelly nicks North Belfast out from under Nigel’s nose. What’s more important to SF – saving the peace process or maintaining their abstention policy at all costs ?

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “What’s more important to SF – saving the peace process or maintaining their abstention policy at all costs ?”

    CS,

    To pose the question is to answer it.

  • cynic2

    “engineer a negative response from our British overlord to any demand for a referendum by Sinn Fein in 2016″

    Of do grow up. The Act provides that a referendum can only be held if SoS believes there will be a yes vote

    Furthermore it was SF that insisted on this as they don’t want their bubble pricked

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    From March 2014: Mel Stride MP: Why we should be reaching out to the DUP | Conservative Home http://bit.ly/OeFOIU

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    And today> A second Coalition. A minority Conservative Government. Or… | Conservative Home http://bit.ly/1j91f5O

  • Mick Fealty

    Brian,

    Isn’t a trial likely to do exactly what a JR would do? How and on what grounds would a JR displace a criminal trial in a Crown Court?

  • DogInTheStreet

    If Cameron is switched on, he should propose a partnership deal with the DUP in much the same way the German CSU has with Bavaria’s CDU where seats for both parties are counted and considered as the one de facto party in parliament.

  • DogInTheStreet

    Would there be a certain unspoken threshold of vote percentage below which a victor in a first past the post system would lose credibility for a mandate? I mean, if party won on 25% of the vote (which is not inconceivable), whither first past the post?

  • Big Island Exile

    The Tories are being practical in starting these contacts with the DUP, it’s almost an acceptance that they won’t get a majority in May next year. The Lib Dems will not go along with an acceptance of a referendum on EU membership, which is what the Tory back benches will demand for a new coalition agreement. So they are looking around for quiet partners to form a minority government.
    Hopefully the DUP will be open to a Labour approach as well, as chances are they would get a better deal.

  • Reader

    DogInTheStreet : Would there be a certain unspoken threshold of vote percentage below which a victor in a first past the post system would lose credibility for a mandate? I mean, if party won on 25% of the vote (which is not inconceivable), whither first past the post?
    It depends on how many parties are in serious contention. In a country with a 2 party system the situation as you describe it wouldn’t arise. But even England has 3-5 serious parties, and the devolved areas have regional parties too. At 25%, though, even with First Past the Post elections, surely there would have to be a coalition or a minority Government – not through an unspoken credibility threshold, but through electoral maths.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Big,

    The Tories aren’t necessarily accepting that they won’t get a majority – they’re just making sure they have a couple of options in case the vote comes back with similar results and the Lib Dems self-destruct (which in all likelihood they will do).

    FPTP being what it is, it only takes a few percentage points for the Tories to get a workable majority. I’d say that is the more likely scenario.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    ………But – if SF MPs took their seats they could mostly cancel out whatever undue influence the DUP are attempting to exercise; especially in the possible, although only distantly likely, scenario where Gerry Kelly nicks North Belfast out from under Nigel’s nose. What’s more important to SF – saving the peace process or maintaining their abstention policy at all costs ……

    I think the simple answer to that is those days of empire are long gone, the

    ‘play up, play up, play the game’ sort of stuff, you are suggesting that SF knuckle down and get into the British seat of politics and play British politics by British rules……meh, no thanks

    A more complex, alternative and immediate view on this is why does it matter to Sinn Fein, Tories go in and out of govt, Thatcher wasn’t helpful, Major had his grummy little deal with Paisley caught on camera, and the world didn’t collapse, PMs come and go, things move forward or stick for awhile, no sweat, there’s no rush.

    What’s the most the Tories can do for the DUP at the moment or in the next govt., what can they offer that would annoy nationalists.

    My opinion is this could have at least a minor impact on the Scottish ref. this is Better Together, this is UK wide Unionism,

    If Scotland is still part of the UK after the next election than there is a strong prospect that the scottish people will be governed by an English Unionist party in minority government supported by a Northern Irish Unionist party.

    And is Scotland the only place that has a right to be affronted by this, if Cameron is preparing for another hung Parliament, what are the possible scenarios for this event, pretty much all of them are that the people in England had a slight preference for a Labour Govt, but Better Together can fix that with a grubby little deal between the English Unionist party which came 2nd and a Northern Irish Unionist party.

  • Mick Fealty

    Reg,

    That’s fine.

    But then what on earth is anyone complaining about? Not taking their seats is what SF do, and they have a nice little monetary deal on the basis of that.

    So why all the long faces over what parties that do do? “Cake and eat it” comes to mind…