DUP to take up a key position in next UK parliament?

As blogged here at Brassneck, there may be an opportunity arising for the DUP to play a key role in the UK constitutional debate that’s unfolding in Britain. Even with an eight per cent lead over Labour, the Tories will find it difficult to get sufficiently far ahead on the ground to be able to go it alone without some form of external support. Even John Major’s 21 seat majority couldn’t save him from the unwelcome attention of the his ‘bastards’ in cabinet.

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  • PeaceandJustice

    How many times have we heard that Unionists will be in a position of influence after a General Election. Seeing is believing. Sinn Fein IRA might be taking their seats by then.

  • Godfrey

    A lot will depend on how any future Conservative government plans to resolve the West Lothian question.

  • joeCanuck

    Read the links Godfrey. That’s exactly what it’s all about!

  • Dewi

    Excellent links – asymmetrical devolution exists in lots of places but the devil is in the detail. Fascinating that the English, according to the FINAL REPORT of the Devolution and Constitutional Change Programme that Mick links to are still opposed to an English Parliament. (Whole document worth reading – good on Wales and interesting on NI). I think that situation (anecdotally I admit) is changing.

    Absolutely convinced myself that the English Votes for English Laws as proposed by Rifkind is incoherent nonsense.

    The trouble with this state is that the central nation is too big….now if we’d had an English famine in 1846….No I didn’t mean that.

  • Gum

    I’d doubt that the DUP would be able to weild any real influence. Irish MPs have never been able to extract much when they have been in a position to prop up a British govt. The next election should be close but should still provide the winner with enough support to goovern independently.

  • Mick Fealty


    I suspect it will come down to one thing Gum: whether or not the Lib Dems can hang on to sufficient of their seats to make the bargain themselves. If I were Cameron, I’d be spreading my money around the table.

    There is an opportunity here for the DUP to shape some of the wider argument around the future of the UK, rather than do what Irish parties have always sought to do (including the abstentionist ones), ie squeeze some local advantage out of British Big Brother over their local rivals.

    Pretty much everything bar the Irish Language Act and devolution of policing and justice, has been already been gamed for locally. Since Northern Irish Unionists appear to be ‘the last of the name’, they could use this debate to leverage ‘positive’ influence over a debate than runs much more widely than Northern Ireland.

  • Gum

    That’s interesting Mick, I had always looked at the implication of devolution on the influence of NI parties at W’minster the other way – i.e. that it would cause it to wane.

    I agree that the Lib Dem’s vote will be important – wonder if there is any data on how it might split? As you say, Cameron needs to make inroads in many directions. The damaged Lib Dems seem the most immediate source of unsafe seats, but it’s a bt of a gamble – to attract Lib Dem votes he’d need to adopt policies that might upset the Tory base.

  • ulidia

    the DUP best be warned, no minor groupng at Westminster has ever faired well from a hung parliament. THose being held out hate you because you are blocking their progress. Those you keep in Government, because they hate being blackmailed by you.

    all in all not the position you want to be in.

    Also remember the old saying “the Tory party never took up a cause they didn’t betray in the end!” – remember 1985