The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland. Ian Paisley founded the DUP in 1971, during the Troubles, and led the party for the next 37 years. Now led by Arlene Foster, it is equal with Sinn Féin in having the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, and it is the sixth-largest party in the House of Commons. Following the 2017 general election, the party agreed to support a Conservative minority government on a case-by-case basis on matters of mutual concern.
The DUP evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party and has historically strong links to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the church Paisley founded. During the Troubles, the DUP opposed attempts to resolve the conflict that would involve sharing power with Irish nationalists or republicans, and rejected attempts to involve the Republic of Ireland in Northern Irish affairs. It campaigned against the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. In the 1980s, the party was involved in setting up the paramilitary movements Third Force and Ulster Resistance.
The party has been described as right-wing and socially conservative, being anti-abortion and opposing same-sex marriage. The DUP sees itself as defending Britishness and Ulster Protestant culture against Irish nationalism. The party is Eurosceptic and during the UK European Union (EU) referendum it supported the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
For most of the DUP's history, the Ulster Unionist Party was the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, but by 2004 the DUP had overtaken the UUP in terms of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Parliament. Following the St Andrews Agreement in 2006, the DUP agreed to enter into power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin. Despite reports of divisions within the party, a majority of the party executive voted in favour of power-sharing in 2007. However, the DUP's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jim Allister, and seven DUP councillors left the party in opposition to its plans to share power with Sinn Féin, founding the Traditional Unionist Voice. Peter Robinson became DUP leader in 2008.
Democratic Unionist Party
|Deputy Leader & House of|
Commons group leader
|Founded||30 September 1971|
|Preceded by||Protestant Unionist Party|
|Headquarters||91 Dundela Avenue |
|Political position||Centre-right to right-wing|
|European Parliament group||Non-Inscrits|
|House of Commons|
10 / 18
|House of Lords|
4 / 781
1 / 3
27 / 90
|Local government in Northern Ireland|
131 / 462
The Democratic Unionist Party evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party, which itself grew out of the Ulster Protestant Action movement. The DUP was founded on 30 September 1971 by Ian Paisley, leader of the Protestant Unionist Party, and Desmond Boal, formerly of the Ulster Unionist Party. Paisley, a well-known Protestant fundamentalist minister, was the founder and leader of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. He would lead both the DUP and the Free Presbyterian Church for the next 37 years, and his party and church would be closely linked. When the DUP formed, Northern Ireland was in the midst of an ethnic-nationalist conflict known as the Troubles, which began in 1969 and would last for the next thirty years. The conflict began amid a campaign to end discrimination against the Catholic/Irish nationalist minority by the Protestant/unionist government and police force. This protest campaign was opposed, often violently, by unionists who viewed it as an Irish republican front. Paisley had led the unionist opposition to the civil rights movement. The DUP were more hardline or loyalist than the UUP and its founding arguably stemmed from worries of the Ulster Protestant working class that the UUP was not paying them enough heed.
The DUP opposed the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. The Agreement was an attempt to resolve the conflict by setting up a new assembly and government for Northern Ireland in which unionists and Irish nationalists would share power. The Agreement also proposed the creation of a Council of Ireland, which would facilitate co-operation between the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The DUP won eight seats in the 1973 election to the Assembly. Along with other anti-Agreement unionists, the DUP formed the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) to oppose the Agreement. In the February 1974 UK election, the UUUC won 11 out of 12 Northern Ireland seats, while the pro-Agreement unionists failed to win any. On 15 May 1974, anti-Agreement unionists called a general strike aimed at bringing down the Agreement. The strike coordinating committee included DUP leader Paisley, the other UUUC leaders, and the leaders of the loyalist paramilitary groups. The strike lasted fourteen days and brought Northern Ireland to a standstill. Loyalist paramilitaries helped enforce the strike by blocking roads and intimidating workers. On the third day of the strike, loyalists detonated four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, killing 33 civilians. The strike led to the downfall of the Agreement on 28 May.
Following the downfall of the Agreement, in 1975 the British government set up a Constitutional Convention, an elected body of unionists and nationalists which would seek agreement on a political settlement for Northern Ireland. In the election to the Convention, the UUUC (which included the DUP) won 53% of the vote. The UUUC opposed a power-sharing government and recommended only a return to majority rule (i.e. unionist rule). As this was unacceptable to nationalists, the Convention was dissolved.
The DUP opposed UK membership of the European Economic Community (EEC). In June 1979, in the first election to the European Parliament, Paisley won one of the three Northern Ireland seats. He topped the poll, with 29.8% of the first preference votes. He retained that seat in every European election until 2004, when he was replaced by Jim Allister, who resigned from the DUP in 2007 while retaining his seat.
During 1981, the DUP opposed the then-ongoing talks between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Charles Haughey. That year, Paisley and other DUP members attempted to create a Protestant loyalist volunteer militia—called the (Ulster) Third Force—which would work alongside the police and army to fight the Irish Republican Army (IRA). They organized large rallies where men were photographed in military formation waving firearms certificates. Paisley declared: "This is a small token of the men who are placed to devastate any attempt by Margaret Thatcher and Charles Haughey to destroy the Union". The DUP helped organize a loyalist 'Day of Action' on 23 November 1981, to pressure the British government to take a harder line against the IRA. Paisley addressed a Third Force rally in Newtownards, where thousands of masked and uniformed men marched before him. He declared: "My men are ready to be recruited under the crown to destroy the vermin of the IRA. But if they refuse to recruit them, then we will have no other decision to make but to destroy the IRA ourselves!" In December, Paisley claimed that the Third Force had 15,000–20,000 members. James Prior, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, replied that private armies would not be tolerated.
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by the British and Irish governments in November 1985, following months of talks between the two. The Agreement confirmed there would be no change in the status of Northern Ireland without the consent of a majority of its citizens, and proposed the creation of a new power-sharing government. It also gave the Irish government an advisory role on some matters in Northern Ireland. Both the DUP and UUP mounted a major protest campaign against the Agreement, dubbed "Ulster Says No". Both unionist parties resigned their seats in the British House of Commons, suspended district council meetings, and led a campaign of mass civil disobedience. There were strikes and mass protest rallies.
On 23 June 1986, DUP politicians occupied the Stormont Parliament Building in protest at the Agreement, while 200 supporters protested outside and clashed with police. The DUP politicians were forcibly removed by police the next day. On 10 July, Paisley and deputy DUP leader Peter Robinson led 4,000 loyalist supporters in a protest in which they 'occupied' the town of Hillsborough. Hillsborough Castle is where the Agreement had been signed. On 7 August, Robinson led hundreds of loyalist supporters in an invasion of the village of Clontibret, in the Republic of Ireland. The loyalists marched up and down the main street, vandalised property, and attacked two Irish police officers (Gardaí) before fleeing back over the border. Robinson was arrested and convicted for unlawful assembly.
On 10 November 1986, a rally was held in which DUP politicians Paisley, Robinson and Ivan Foster announced the formation of the Ulster Resistance Movement (URM). This was a loyalist paramilitary group whose purpose was to "take direct action as and when required" to bring down the Agreement and defeat republicanism. Recruitment rallies were held in towns across Northern Ireland and thousands were said to have joined. The following year, the URM helped smuggle a large shipment of weapons into Northern Ireland, which were shared out between the URM, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Most, but not all, of the weaponry was seized by police in 1988. In 1989, URM members attempted to trade Shorts' missile blueprints for weapons from the apartheid South African regime. Following these revelations, the DUP said that it had cut its links with the URM in 1987.
In the mid-1980s, the Irish republican party Sinn Féin began to contest and win seats in local council elections. In response, the DUP fought elections under the slogan "Smash Sinn Féin" and vowed to exclude Sinn Féin councillors from all council business. Their 1985 manifesto said "The Sinn Féiners must be ostracised and isolated" at all local government bodies. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, DUP councillors attempted to exclude Sinn Féin councillors by ignoring them, boycotting their speeches, or drowning them out by making as much noise as possible – such as by heckling and banging tables.
In early January 1994, the Ulster Defence Association released a document calling for the repartition of Ireland with the goal of making Northern Ireland wholly Protestant. The plan was to be implemented should the British Army withdraw from Northern Ireland. The Irish Catholic/nationalist-majority areas would be handed over to the Republic, and those left in the rump state would be "expelled, nullified, or interned". Sammy Wilson, then a DUP press officer and a future Stormont minister and MP, spoke positively of the document, calling it a "valuable return to reality" and lauded the UDA for "contemplating what needs to be done to maintain our separate Ulster identity".
During the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s, the DUP was initially involved in the negotiations under former United States Senator George J. Mitchell that led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, but withdrew in protest when Sinn Féin, an Irish republican party with links to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), was allowed to participate while the IRA kept its weapons. The DUP opposed the Agreement in the Good Friday Agreement referendum, in which the Agreement was approved with 71.1% of the electorate in favour.
The DUP's opposition was based on a number of reasons, including:
The DUP contested the 1998 Northern Ireland Assembly election that resulted from the Good Friday Agreement, winning 20 seats, the third-highest of any party. It then took up two of the ten seats in the multi-party power-sharing Executive. While serving as ministers, they refused to sit at meetings of the Executive Committee in protest at Sinn Féin's participation. The Executive ultimately collapsed over an alleged IRA espionage ring at Stormont (see Stormontgate).
The Good Friday Agreement relied on the support of a majority of unionists and a majority of nationalists in order for it to operate. During the 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the DUP argued for a "fair deal" that could command the support of both unionists and nationalists. After the results of this election the DUP argued that support was no longer present within unionism for the Good Friday Agreement. They went on to publish their proposals for devolution in Ireland entitled Devolution Now. These proposals have been refined and re-stated in further policy documents including Moving on and Facing Reality.
In the 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the DUP won 30 seats, the most of any party. In January 2004, it became the largest Northern Ireland party at Westminster, when MP Jeffrey Donaldson joined after defecting from the UUP. In December 2004, English MP Andrew Hunter took the DUP whip after earlier withdrawing from the Conservative Party, giving the party seven seats, in comparison to the UUP's five, Sinn Féin's four, and the Social Democratic and Labour Party's (SDLP) three.
In the 2005 UK general election, the party reinforced its position as the largest unionist party, winning nine seats, making it the fourth largest party in terms of seats in the British House of Commons behind Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In terms of votes, the DUP was the fourth largest party on the island of Ireland.
At the local government election of 2005, the DUP emerged as the largest party at local government level with 182 councillors across Northern Ireland's 26 district councils. The DUP had a majority of the members on Castlereagh Borough Council, which had long been a DUP stronghold and was home to party leader Peter Robinson, also in Ballymena Borough Council, home to the party's founder Ian Paisley, and finally Ards Borough Council. As well as outright control on these councils, the DUP was also the largest party in eight other councils – Antrim Borough Council, Ballymoney Borough Council, Banbridge District Council, Belfast City Council, Carrickfergus Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council, Craigavon Borough Council and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
On 11 April 2006, it was announced that three DUP members were to be elevated to the House of Lords: Maurice Morrow, Wallace Browne, the former Lord Mayor of Belfast, and Eileen Paisley, a vice-president of the DUP and wife of DUP Leader Ian Paisley. None, however, sit as DUP peers.
On 27 October 2006, the DUP issued a four-page letter in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper asking "Are the terms of Saint Andrew's a basis of moving forward to devolution?", with responses to be received to its party headquarters by 8 November. It was part of the party's policy of consultation with its electorate before entering a power-sharing government.
On 24 November 2006, Ian Paisley refused to nominate himself as First Minister of Northern Ireland designate. There was confusion between all parties whether he actually said that if Sinn Féin supported policing and the rule of law that he would nominate himself on 28 March 2007 after the Assembly elections on 7 March 2007. The Assembly meeting was brought to an abrupt end when the building had to be evacuated because of a security breach. Paisley later released a statement through the press office stating that he did in fact imply that if Sinn Féin supported policing and the rule of law, he would go into a power-sharing government with them. This was following a statement issued by 12 DUP MLAs stating that what Ian Paisley had said in the chamber could not be interpreted as a nomination.
In February 2007, the DUP suggested that it would begin to impose fines up to £20,000 on members disobeying the party whip on crucial votes. On 24 March 2007 the DUP party executive overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution put to them by the party officers that did not agree to an establishment of devolution and an executive in Northern Ireland by the Government's deadline of 26 March, but did agree to setting up an executive on 8 May 2007.
On 27 March 2007, the party's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jim Allister, resigned from the party, in opposition to the decision to enter a power-sharing government with Sinn Féin. He retained his seat as an independent MEP as leader of his new hard-line anti-St Andrews Agreement splinter group that he formed with other disaffected members who had left the DUP over the issue, Traditional Unionist Voice, a seat which he retained until Diane Dodds won the seat back for the DUP in 2009. MP Gregory Campbell warned on 6 April 2007 that his party would be watching to see if benefits flow from its agreement to share power with Sinn Féin.
On 31 May 2008, the party's central Executive Committee met at the offices of Castlereagh Borough Council where Ian Paisley formally stepped down as party leader and Peter Robinson was ratified as the new leader, with Nigel Dodds as his deputy.
On 11 June 2008, the party supported the government's proposal to detain terrorist suspects for up to 42 days as part of the Counter-Terrorism Bill, leading The Independent newspaper to dub all of the party's nine MPs as part of "Brown's dirty dozen". The Times reported that the party had been given "sweeteners for Northern Ireland" and "a peerage for the Rev Ian Paisley", amongst other offers, to secure the bill.
Members of the DUP were lambasted by the press and voters, after MPs' expenses reports were leaked to the media. Several newspapers referred to the "Swish Family Robinson" after Peter Robinson, and his wife Iris, claimed £571,939.41 in expenses with a further £150,000 being paid to family members. Further embarrassment was caused to the party when its deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, had the highest expenses claims of any Northern Ireland MP, ranking 13th highest out of all UK MPs. Details of all MPs' expenses claims since 2004 were published in July 2009 under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
In January 2010, Peter Robinson was at the centre of a high-profile scandal relating to his 60-year-old MP/MLA wife Iris Robinson's infidelity with a 19-year-old man, and alleged serious financial irregularities associated with the scandal.
In the 2010 general election, the party suffered a major upset when its leader, Peter Robinson, lost his Belfast East seat to Naomi Long of the APNI on a swing of 22.9%. However, the party maintained its position elsewhere, fighting off a challenge from the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force in Antrim South and Strangford and from Jim Allister's Traditional Unionist Voice in Antrim North.
The DUP were strongly criticised after the Red Sky scandal in which DUP ministers attempted to influence a decision at a meeting of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The decision related to a £8 million contract of east Belfast firm Red Sky. The Housing Executive cancelled Red Sky's contract after a BBC Spotlight investigation into the company, which was shown to be overcharging taxpayers. The DUP cited "sectarian bias" in relation to the decision. The party suspended DUP councillor Jenny Palmer, who sat on the Executive board, after she confessed that DUP special adviser Stephen Brimstone pressured her into changing her vote at the meeting.
In the 2015 general election, when the result was expected to be a hung parliament, the issue of DUP and the UK Independence Party forming a coalition government with the UK Conservative Party was considered by Nigel Farage (leader of UKIP). The then Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, warned against this "Blukip" coalition, with a spoof website highlighting imagined policies from this coalition – such as reinstating the death penalty, scrapping all benefits for under 25s and charging for hospital visits. Additionally, issues were raised about the continued existence of the BBC (as the DUP, UKIP and Conservatives had made a number of statements criticising the institution) and support for same-sex marriage. However, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live deputy leader of the DUP Nigel Dodds told BBC Newsline that the DUP was "against discrimination based on religion ... or sexual orientation".
Arlene Foster became leader of the DUP on 17 December 2015, and served as First Minister of Northern Ireland from January 2016 to January 2017.
Two days before the UK Brexit referendum, held on 23 June 2016, the DUP paid £282,000 for a four-page glossy wrap-around to the free newspaper Metro, which is distributed in major towns and cities in the British mainland, but not Northern Ireland, advocating a 'Leave' vote.
On 4 October 2016, First Minister Arlene Foster and DUP MPs held a champagne reception at the Conservative Party conference, marking what some have described as an "informal coalition" or an "understanding" between the two parties to account for the Conservatives' narrow majority in the House of Commons. The relationship between the parties was formalised after the 2017 United Kingdom general election with the signing of the Conservative–DUP agreement. In October 2017, DUP held a similar reception at the Conservative Party conference, which was attended by leading Conservative figures including First Secretary of State Damian Green, Brexit Secretary David Davis, then-Chief Whip Gavin Williamson, and party chairman Patrick McLoughlin. This was reciprocated in November, when Damian Green and Conservative Chief Whip Julian Smith attended the DUP's conference, with Smith giving a keynote address. The third such annual DUP reception at the Conservative conference took place in October 2018, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson addressing the DUP conference a month later. Prominent Conservative MPs such as Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, former International Development Secretary Priti Patel, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, Defence Select Committee chair Julian Lewis, and European Research Group chair Jacob Rees-Mogg headlined various fundraising events for the DUP from 2017 onwards.
Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage also spoke at a DUP fundraiser in May 2018, with his main financial backer, Arron Banks, stating that he would support a bid by Farage to seek office as a DUP candidate after the end of his tenure as Member of the European Parliament in 2019.
In her capacity as Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in 2012, Foster oversaw the establishment of a green energy scheme, which led to the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. The scheme gave a perverse incentive to use more energy and increase their carbon footprint to those who signed up to it since they could claim £1.60 for every £1 spent on heating with, for example, wood pellets. With no cost controls, it could cost the public purse up to £490 million.
Foster refused to resign or step aside during any inquiry into her role in the scheme, which in January 2017 led Martin McGuinness to resign and the Northern Ireland Executive to collapse. A snap election followed after Sinn Féin refused to re-nominate a deputy First Minister. In this Northern Ireland Assembly election, held in March 2017, the DUP lost 10 seats, leaving them only one seat and 1,200 votes ahead of Sinn Féin, a result described by the Belfast Telegraph as "catastrophic". The withdrawal of the party whip from Jim Wells in May 2018 left the DUP on 27 seats, the same number as Sinn Féin.
In the UK 2017 general election, the DUP had 10 seats overall, 3 seats ahead of Sinn Féin. With no party having received an outright majority in the UK Parliament, the DUP entered into an agreement to support government by the Conservative Party. A DUP source said: "The alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM."
The Democratic Unionist Party are Ulster unionists, which means that they support Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom and are opposed to a united Ireland. The party sees itself as defending Britishness and Ulster Protestant culture against Irish nationalism and republicanism. It supports marching rights for the loyalist Orange Order, which many DUP members are members of; is also in favour of flying the British Union Flag from government buildings all year round. The DUP assert that "Irish and Gaelic culture should not be allowed to dominate funding" in Northern Ireland and have blocked proposed laws that would promote and protect the Irish language. The DUP are staunch supporters of the British security forces and their role in the Northern Ireland conflict. The party wants to prevent British soldiers and police officers from being prosecuted for killings committed during the conflict.
The party has also been described as right-wing populist and containing some extremist tendencies. The party has historic links with the far-right in Northern Ireland; it is linked to the Ulster loyalist faction of unionism, which has been identified as a form of ethnic nationalism. The DUP was also recently endorsed at the 2017 general election by the Loyalist Communities Council, an umbrella group of loyalist paramilitary groups, which are proscribed terrorist organisations. However, the party leadership strongly rejected the endorsement, with party leader Arlene Foster stating: "We did not seek that statement, we did not seek endorsement from any paramilitary organisation and indeed I fundamentally reject an endorsement from anyone that's involved with paramilitarism or criminality."
The DUP is a Eurosceptic party that supported the UK's withdrawal from the European Union in 2016 Brexit referendum and was the only party in the Stormont power executive to campaign for leave. The party opposes a hard Irish border, and wishes to maintain the Common Travel Area. East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson caused controversy in March 2016 during a BBC Spotlight episode discussing the implications of the EU referendum, when he was recorded agreeing with a member of the public who said that they wanted to leave the European Union and "get the ethnics out". Wilson stated "You are absolutely right". Wilson claimed he was agreeing with the desire to leave the European Union, not the "ethnics out" call. Wilson was criticised by the Polish consul in Northern Ireland and various other political parties.
Since 2018, the DUP have said the Northern Ireland backstop must be removed from the Brexit withdrawal agreement if they are to continue to support Theresa May's government in the House of Commons.
With regards to foreign policy, the DUP "takes a staunchly pro-Israel line, hewing to the hawkish end of the Israeli spectrum."
The DUP is socially conservative and has strong links to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the small church founded by Reverend Ian Paisley. The vast majority of DUP members are evangelical Christians and, on average, 65% of its representatives since the party was founded have been Free Presbyterians. The party also has links with the Caleb Foundation, a Protestant fundamentalist pressure group.
The DUP has opposed LGBT rights in Northern Ireland. Party leaders—as well as many prominent party members—have condemned homosexuality, and a 2014 survey found that two-thirds of party members believe homosexuality is wrong. The DUP campaigned against the legalisation of homosexual acts, which it believed to be a "harmful deviance" linked to paedophilia, in Northern Ireland through the "Save Ulster from Sodomy" campaign between 1977-82, and the party has vetoed the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland since 2015, making Northern Ireland the only region of the UK where same-sex marriage is not permitted. Former DUP minister Jim Wells called the issue a "red line" for power-sharing talks, adding that "Peter will not marry Paul in Northern Ireland". The party attempted to introduce a "conscience clause" into law in Northern Ireland, which would let businesses refuse to provide a service if it went against their religious beliefs. This came after a Christian-owned bakery was taken to court for refusing to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan. Opponents argued that the clause would allow discrimination against LGBT people.
The party maintains that it is "pro-life" and members have campaigned strongly against any extension of abortion rights to Northern Ireland, unanimously opposing a bill by Labour MP Diana Johnson to protect women in England and Wales from criminal prosecution if they ended a pregnancy using pills bought online. They have opposed extra funding for international family planning programmes.
Some DUP politicians have called for creationism to be taught in schools, and for museums to include creationism in their exhibits. In 2007, a DUP spokesman confirmed that these views were in line with party policy.
Founder Ian Paisley led the party from its foundation in 1971 onwards, and retired as leader of the party in spring 2008.
The following are the terms of office as party leader and as First Minister of Northern Ireland:
|Leader||Period||Constituency||Years as First Minister|
|Ian Paisley||1971–2008||MP for Bannside (1970–72)
MP for North Antrim (1970–2010)
MEP for Northern Ireland (1979–2004)
MLA for North Antrim (1998–2011)
(Executive of the 3rd Assembly)
|Peter Robinson||2008–2015||MP for Belfast East (1979–2010)
MLA for Belfast East (1998–2016)
(Executive of the 3rd and 4th Assembly)
|Arlene Foster||2015–present||MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (2003–present)||2016–2017|
(Executive of the 4th Assembly)
|William Beattie||1971–1980||MP for South Antrim (1970–72)|
|Peter Robinson||1980–2008||MP for Belfast East (1979–2010)|
MLA for Belfast East (1998–2016)
|Nigel Dodds||2008–present||MLA for Belfast North (1998–2010)|
MP for Belfast North (2001–present)
|First Minister||Arlene Foster|
|Junior Minister (nominated by First Minister)||Alastair Ross|
|Ian Paisley||1974–2008||North Antrim|
|Peter Robinson||2008–2010||Belfast East|
|Nigel Dodds||2010–present||Belfast North|
|Business in the House of Commons
|Housing, Communities and Local Government
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
|Ian Paisley Jr|
|Health and Social Care
|Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Work and Pensions
Members of the House of Commons following 8 June 2017 general election:
Members of the House of Lords
Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly elected in May 2016:
Members elected in 2014
|Election||House of Commons||Share of votes||Seats||±||Government|
1 / 12
1 / 12
3 / 12
3 / 17
3 / 17
3 / 17
2 / 18
5 / 18
9 / 18
8 / 18
8 / 18
10 / 18
|Election||Northern Ireland Assembly||Total Votes||Share of votes||Seats||+/-||Government|
8 / 78
12 / 78
|4||Fourth largest party|
21 / 78
24 / 110
|24||Second largest party|
20 / 108
|4||Junior party in coalition|
30 / 108
|10||Largest party, direct rule|
36 / 108
38 / 108
38 / 108
28 / 90
The Democratic Unionist Party has formally announced its intention to campaign for a Brexit.
No-one wants to see a ‘hard’ Brexit, what we want to see is a workable plan to leave the European Union, and that’s what the national vote was about – therefore we need to get on with that.
Sweeteners for Northern Ireland and a peerage for the Rev Ian Paisley, dropping sanctions on Cuba and the governorship of Bermuda were among the offers the Government is thought to have used to secure Gordon Brown’s victory in yesterday’s vote.
The Arabic Democratic Unionist Party (Arabic: حزب الاتحاد العربي الديمقراطي - Hizb Al-Ittihad Al-'Arabi Al-Dimuqrati) is a nationalist political party in Syria. It is part of the National Progressive Front of legally licensed parties which support the socialist and Arab nationalist orientation of the government and accept the leadership of the Ba'ath Party. In the 22 April 2007 People's Council of Syria election the party was awarded 1 out of 250 seats in the parliament.Conservative–DUP agreement
The Conservative–DUP agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) followed the 2017 United Kingdom general election which resulted in a hung parliament. Negotiations between the two parties began on 9 June, the day after the election, and the final agreement was signed and published on 26 June 2017.
The agreement, signed by the two parties' chief whips, Gavin Williamson for the Conservatives and Jeffrey Donaldson for the DUP, secured DUP confidence-and-supply support for a Conservative minority government led by Theresa May.Democratic Unionist Party (Sudan)
The Democratic Unionist Party (Arabic: الحزب الإتحادي الديموقراطي, translit. al-Hizb al-Ittihadi al-Dimuqrati), also referred to by itself as the Original Democratic Unionist Party, is a political party in Sudan, closely tied to the Khatmiyya Sufi order.
Established in 1952 as the National Unionist Party (NUP), it is one of two political parties predating Sudan's independence, along the Umma Party. Founded by Mohammed Uthman al-Mirghani's Khatmiyya order and Ismail al-Azhari's urban nationalist Ashigga Party (est. 1943), it is often considered Sudan's oldest political party. Having won a clear majority in Sudan's first parliamentary election, al-Azhari became Sudan's first prime minister, who in 1955 declared independence from colonial rule.
The party broke apart in 1956, with the Khatmiyya order founding the new People's Democratic Party (PDP), but reunited in 1967, resulting in the current name. In 1986, DUP leader Ahmed al-Mirghani became President of Sudan until ousted by Omar al-Bashir's military coup in 1989. While the party's official leadership around Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani remained in exile, the Khartoum-based Political Secretariat seceded in 2011, resulting in the rivalling the "Registered" Democratic Unionist Party led by Jalal al-Digair.Diane Dodds
Diane Jean Dodds (born 16 August 1958) is a Democratic Unionist Party politician in Northern Ireland. She has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Northern Ireland constituency since 2004. She previously sat in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2003 to 2007 as MLA for West Belfast.Emma Little-Pengelly
Emma Little-Pengelly (born 31 December 1979) is a Democratic Unionist Party politician in Northern Ireland. She was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Belfast South constituency in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in 2017, having previously served as an MLA for the Belfast South constituency in the Northern Irish Assembly.Gavin Robinson
Gavin James Robinson (born 22 November 1984) is a Democratic Unionist Party politician from Belfast in Northern Ireland. A barrister by profession, he was Lord Mayor of Belfast in 2012–2013 and has been MP for Belfast East in the UK House of Commons since the 2015 general election.Ian Paisley Jr
Ian Richard Kyle Paisley Jr (born 12 December 1966) is a United Kingdom politician. He has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Antrim since the 2010 general election. Previously he was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Antrim from 1998 to 2010. Paisley, who is a member of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is the son of the DUP's founder Ian Paisley.
MPs voted to suspend Paisley from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days, beginning on 4 September 2018, because he broke paid advocacy rules by receiving hospitality from the Sri Lankan government without declaring this to the Commons. Following his suspension, the Recall of MPs Act 2015 was invoked for the first time since it received Royal Assent. This triggered an abortive recall petition, the first such petition in British parliamentary history. His membership of the DUP had been suspended between 24 July and 18 September 2018, during internal investigations by the party into his conduct.Jeffrey Donaldson
Sir Jeffrey Mark Donaldson (born 7 December 1962) is a Northern Irish politician and Member of Parliament for Lagan Valley representing the Democratic Unionist Party. He is best known for his opposition to Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader David Trimble during the Northern Ireland peace process, especially from 1998 to 2003. He is Northern Ireland's longest-serving current MP.Jim Shannon
Richard James Shannon (born 25 March 1955) is a Democratic Unionist politician from Northern Ireland. He has sat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom since 2010 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Strangford. He had previously sat in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1998 to 2010 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (Northern Ireland) (MLA) for the Assembly constituency of Strangford. He is an advocate for Leave Means Leave, a pro-Brexit campaign.Lisburn City Council
Lisburn City Council was a city council covering an area partly in County Antrim and partly in County Down in Northern Ireland. As of May 2015 it was merged with Castlereagh Borough Council as part of the reform of local government in Northern Ireland to become Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.
Created in 1964, the council was the second largest in the Belfast Metropolitan Area. Council headquarters were in the city of Lisburn. It was the second-largest council area in Northern Ireland with over 120,000 people and an area of 174 square miles (450 km2) of southwest Antrim and northwest Down. It stretched from Glenavy and Dundrod in the north to Dromara and Hillsborough in the south and from Drumbo in the east to Moira and Aghalee in the west.
The council area consisted of five electoral areas: Downshire, Dunmurry Cross, Killultagh, Lisburn Town North and Lisburn Town South. It had 30 councillors, last elected in 2011. The final composition was: 14 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 5 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 5 Sinn Féin, 3 Alliance Party and 3 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).
For elections to the Westminster Parliament, the council area was split between the Lagan Valley constituency, Belfast West and South Antrim constituencies.The first elections for the new council took place in May 2014.List of Democratic Unionist Party MPs
This is a list of Democratic Unionist Party MPs. It includes all Members of Parliament elected to the British House of Commons representing the Democratic Unionist Party. Members of the European Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly are not listed.
1 Defected from the Ulster Unionist Party.
2 Defected from the Conservative Party, sitting as an Independent Conservative between 2002 and 2004
3 Originally elected for the Protestant Unionist Party in 1970.
4 Expelled from the DUP in 2010 and sat briefly as an independent.List of members of the 3rd Northern Ireland Assembly
This is a list of the members of the third Northern Ireland Assembly elected on 7 March 2007 or subsequently co-opted. The third term was the first in the Assembly's history to run to completion.List of members of the 5th Northern Ireland Assembly
This is a list of the members of the fifth Northern Ireland Assembly, the unicameral devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) elected on 5 May 2016 or subsequently co-opted are listed by party and by constituency.
Only the Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin and an Independent Unionist participated in the 4th Northern Ireland Executive, which now comprised nine rather than 12 departments. The Ulster Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party and Alliance Party declined the roles they were entitled to, and under the Assembly and Executive Reform (Assembly Opposition) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 the larger UUP and SDLP formed the first official Assembly Opposition.
The Assembly convened on 12 May, electing the DUP's Robin Newton as Speaker.Nigel Dodds
Nigel Alexander Dodds (born 20 August 1958) is a Northern Ireland barrister and unionist politician. He is the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Belfast North, and has been deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) since June 2008. He has been Lord Mayor of Belfast twice, and from 1993 has been General Secretary of the DUP.Dodds became North Belfast's MP in the 2001 UK general election. He has served in the past as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and as Minister of Finance in the Northern Ireland Executive.Paul Girvan
Paul Girvan (born 6 July 1963) is a Northern Irish politician. Since 2017, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Antrim.
As a member of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), he was elected to Newtownabbey Borough Council in 1997, and from 2002–04 served as its mayor. He is currently the Chair of the council's Development Committee.
In 2003, he was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, representing South Antrim. He was deselected by the DUP in South Antrim in 2007, but returned to the Assembly in 2010 when he was selected to replace William McCrea following his resignation. In the 2017 general election, he was elected as the Member of Parliament for South Antrim, having defeated the incumbent Ulster Unionist Member, Danny Kinahan.Robin Newton
Robin Newton (born 21 December 1945) is a Democratic Unionist Party politician in Northern Ireland. He is a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLA) for East Belfast, and was a junior minister in the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister from 2009-11.
Newton is a chief executive of a management consultancy company and a member of the East Belfast Partnership Board, which promotes economic development in East Belfast. He was elected Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 May 2016. He and his wife Carole have two children.Socialist Democratic Unionist Party
The Socialist Democratic Unionist Party (PUDS) (Parti unioniste démocratique et socialiste) is an Arab nationalist political party in Mauritania. As of 2013, the party is led by Mahfouz Weld al-Aziz.Wallace Browne, Baron Browne of Belmont
Wallace Hamilton Browne, Baron Browne of Belmont (born 29 October 1947) is a Northern Irish politician in the Democratic Unionist Party.William McCrea, Baron McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown
Rt. Hon. Rev. Dr Robert Thomas William McCrea, Baron McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown, D.D. (born 6 August 1948) is a Free Presbyterian minister from Northern Ireland. A former Democratic Unionist Party politician, he represented South Antrim and Mid Ulster as their Member of Parliament.
Democratic Unionist Party