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British election - Democratic Unionist Party play the kingmakers

As Prime Minister May seeks to form a government, the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party becomes crucial to the Tories. After winning 10 seats in parliament, the DUP can largely decide May's fate.

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Theresa May to form minority government with Northern Ireland's DUP

The British election results are definitely a setback for Prime Minister Theresa May, who hoped to win a bigger mandate in the snap vote and improve her position in negotiations with the European Union on Britain's exit from the 28-nation bloc.

Despite falling short of a majority in Parliament, the Conservative Party is still the largest group in the house. But to continue as prime minister and for the Tories to stay in power, May said she would form a government with "friends in the DUP," Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Read more: After electoral gambit backfire, May vows to form new government - with help

May visited Buckingham Palace on Friday to seek the queen's permission to form the government, with an "understanding" that she has the DUP backing.

Who are the DUP?

Founded in 1971 by protestant leader Ian Paisley, the DUP has been accused of having links with the Ulster Resistance Movement (URM,) a paramilitary group set up in opposition to the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1986. The DUP subsequently claimed that they severed their links with the group in 1987 but not before former First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson was photographed wearing a beret at a URM rally.

The DUP is now headed by Arlene Foster whose father was a reservist with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2001. She experienced two attacks in childhood: one a murder attempt on her father, and the other a bombing targeting the school bus she was on.

Under Foster's leadership, the DUP has developed policies in favor of maintaining the Common Travel Area, ensuring a frictionless border with the Republic of Ireland, as well as securing ease of trade throughout the European Union.

Many within the party are anti-abortion and do not believe in LGBT rights. 

Climate change denial

The DUP’s manifesto did not mention the words "climate change" "global warming" or "environment" and the DUP's Sammy Wilson has described the Paris Climate Agreement as "a delusion … a piece of window dressing for climate chancers."

The last Northern Ireland administration under Foster came under fire for a subsidy scheme for biofuels, which involved payouts of half a billion pounds ($636 million or 569 million euros) to those who knew about the scheme which resulted in a scandal that became known as "cash for ash." There was a major investigation into whether DUP staff and supporters personally benefitted.

George Monbiot, a British writer and environmental and political activist, accused the DUP in a Tweet of being full of "climate change deniers, homophobes and misogynists."

The DUP manifesto aimed to "prioritise spending on our Health Service, create more jobs and increase incomes, protect family budgets, raise standards in education for everyone and invest in infrastructure."

The party are expected to ask for more money for Northern Ireland in return for backing the Tories.

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