On the Today Programme this morning, Sarah Montague kept pressing Sammy Wilson of the DUP on whether his party would enter into an electoral alliance in certain seats with the new Conservative and Ulster Unionist grouping. Wilson suggested that the DUP would stand but would welcome it if other unionists stood aside. But that’s not going to happen. The Conservatives are determined to contest every seat in Northern Ireland. They see this as crucial to their attempt to move politics there beyond the sectarian and constitutional issues. They must also surely know that any kind of electoral alliance with the DUP could, given the views of some DUP politicians, cause problems for them on the mainland.
Having said that, I suspect we will find over the next few months that Northern Ireland is not beyond the constitutional issues. The whole executive might well end up collapsing over the devolution of policing and justice.