Tories look to agree deal with DUP after losing majority
Tories look to agree deal with DUP after losing majority


A nightmarish final Westminster election result has given the DUP the opportunity to form a highly unstable coalition with the Conservatives.

As the final seats went down to recounts, it emerged that the Conservatives have lost their parliamentary majority. The result has been a humiliation for the outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, but she has so far rejected calls to stand down.

As the results stand, the Conservatives have 318 seats and Labour are on 261, with one constituency still to be declared. The Tories needed 326 seats to claim a parliamentary majority.

The DUP won 10 of the 18 seats in Ireland -- up 2 from the party’s result in 2015. A coalition between the Conservatives and the DUP would therefore give the parties a majority of two, which is normally considered unworkable.

There have been reports that Theresa May has already struck a deal with the Democratic Unionists that she believes will allow her to form a government. She is reportedly expected to tell the English queen at around 12.30pm to confirm that a deal is in place.

The DUP had made clear they are ready to return the Tories under the right conditions, including a hard Brexit for Ireland with no special status for the north of Ireland.

With Brexit negotiations supposed to begin within the next 10 days, but likely to be postponed, DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds described special EU status as “a nonsense”.

“Dublin doesn’t support it. Brussels doesn’t support it. The member states of the EU would never dream of it because it would open the door to a Pandora’s box of independence movements of all sorts. The only people who mentioned this are Sinn Fein.”

With their history of bigotry and their recent endorsement by unionist paramilitaries, handing power to the DUP ahead of the Brexit negotiations could be a devastating final blow to Theresa May.

While party leader Gerry Adams has already come under immense pressure to end the party’s policy of not taking its seats at Westminster, Sinn Fein has not yet commented on the result.

The Conservatives have lost the British election and should instead stand aside for a Labour minority government, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.

He called for Theresa May to quit as Prime Minister and said his party had achieved an “incredible result”, adding more than three million votes and gaining seats all over Britain.

“I think it’s pretty clear who won this election,” he said at Labour’s headquarters in central London.

“We are ready to do everything we can to put our programme into operation. There isn’t a parliamentary majority for anybody at the present time, the party that has lost in this election is the Conservative Party, the arguments the Conservative Party put forward in this election have lost.

“I think we need a change.”

Mr Corbyn mocked Mrs May’s election campaign slogan that she would provide “strong and stable” leadership.

“She fought the election on the basis that it was her campaign, it was her decision to call the election, it was her name out there, and she was saying she was doing it to bring about strong and stable government.

“Well this morning it doesn’t look like a strong government, it doesn’t look like a stable government, it doesn’t look like a government that has any programme whatsoever.”

Asked if there would now be another election, Mr Corbyn said: “Parliament must meet and Parliament will have to take a decision on what happens. When a government puts forward the Queen’s Speech, we will put forward our point of view, we are of course ready to serve.”

RESULTS (649 of 650 seats filled) (change since 2015 in brackets):

Conservatives 318 (-12)
Labour 261 (+29)
SNP 35 (-21)
Lib Dems 12 (+4)
DUP 10 (+2)
SF 7 (+3)
Plaid Cymru 4 (+1)
Others 2 (-6)

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