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May to form government with help of Democratic Unionist party

11 Juin 2017

"I think it's pretty clear who won this election", Corbyn told reporters.

Jeremy Paxman didn't hold back with his questions to Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

A show of strength in the House is not sufficient to ensure that the Conservative Party forms the next government.

Despite what the whole world recognizes as a horrific performance in yesterday's general election, which she called to strengthen her government, it seems Theresa May will hang onto 10 Downing Street for the time being thanks to the support of the ten parliamentary representatives of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. They had gained two seats, taking their total to 10.

A total of 326 seats is needed for a majority in the Commons, as efforts to run a minority government are usually doomed to fail because of the inability to get any legislation through the parliament, which means that an arrangement with another political party is essential.

Or to put it another way, the deal with the DUP represents life or death both for the new government and for Mrs May as PM. If some Conservative MPs desert the party on key votes than May's plans would be left in tatters.

"As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular". We have worked well with May.

A formal coalition - with DUP ministers sitting alongside Conservatives in cabinet - does not appear to be on the cards.

But a deal between the DUP and the Conservatives would risk destabilising the delicate political balance in Northern Ireland and could significantly complicate talks due to start next week to restore the power-sharing agreement.

"We will enter discussions with the Conservatives about how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge", said Arlene Foster, the head of the DUP.

But they are anxious about what will happen to the border of Northern Ireland, because it's the only part of the United Kingdom which shares a land border with a country that's part of the European Union - the Republic of Ireland. The archconservative DUP party's staunch opposition to gay marriage and abortion have kicked up controversy among Tory members and supporters.

"I can understand how many people switched from supporting them three weeks ago to actually saying "if this is the way they're going to deal with these people I wouldn't be happy".

Snap elections in the United Kingdom have cost the Conservative government its majority and raised more questions than answers among Britain's worldwide counterparts.

With no clear victor emerging from yesterday's election, a wounded Mrs May has signaled she will fight on.

The Protestant unionist party also had links with outlawed paramilitary groups during the years of Northern Ireland's "Troubles".

The fear in Belfast is that a close working relationship between May's government and the DUP could affect the devolution crisis.

And Ukip leader Paul Nuttall fell on his sword after just six months in the job, after slumping to a distant third place in Skegness & Boston on a woeful night for the Eurosceptic party, which shed swathes of voters to Labour and Conservatives.

This would show her negotiating intentions to the European Union, take the wind from the sails of the SNP's promise of a second independence referendum and increase her majority, destroying the threat of UKIP and giving her more room for manoeuvre against the determined Brexiteers.

"Other personnel issues are for other days", she said. "She must take it (the referendum) off the table".

May to form government with help of Democratic Unionist party