David Blackburn

The Tories would have to rely on the DUP in the event of a hung parliament

The Tories would have to rely on the DUP in the event of a hung parliament
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Reg Empey may yet oust the DUP’s William McCrea in South Antrim, but the indications are that the UUP and Tory alliance will not win a seat. The Tories will have to rely on co-operation with the DUP.

In truth, competition between three Unionist parties has left the Unionist cause divided. The TUV’s Jim Allister is giving the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr a close race in North Antrim. Robinson’s DUP will emerge the largest Unionist party in Ulster, but with a point to prove to voters who are keen to protect Northern Ireland’s bloated public sector and generous funding. Conservative he may be, but Robinson is an Ulsterman first and foremost and has the most to gain by securing what's best for Northern Ireland. The Belfast Telegraph reports:

'However, he (Robinson) said that the DUP, unlike the SDLP and Ulster Unionist Party, have not aligned themselves to any of the main UK political parties.

Describing the DUP as “a free and unfettered team” he claimed they can maximise the influence of Northern Ireland in Westminster.

“In a hung Parliament scenario there are going to be negotiations as soon as this election is out of the way,” Mr Robinson said.

“David Cameron is already setting his alarm clock to get up early after the election to come to Northern Ireland. You can judge for yourselves who it is likely he will have to negotiate with at that stage.” '

'In the end you can always do a deal with an Ulsterman, but it’s not the way to run a modern, sophisticated society.'

Leaden words but he's got a point: the DUP is the last party the Tories would wish to deal with.