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Profile: Who are the Democratic Unionists?

The Democratic Unionists look set to be the kingmakers in the new Westminster - but who are they and how will they work with the Conservative party?

The Northern Irish party, which won 10 seats in the general election, has agreed to talks with Theresa May to prop up the Conservative government, but their ultra-Conservative policies have attracted plenty of criticism.

Here's what they stand for and where they may clash with the Tories:

What the DUP is likely to seek from a coalition:

  • Border assurances: the party will look for guarantees on preventing a hard border with the Republic of Ireland and any new customs operations that physically sets the region apart from anywhere else in the UK
  • Brexit deals: the party supported Brexit but may seek the reinstatement of EU subsidies when the UK leaves the EU - such as about £350 million a year that farmers may lose and about £400m of payments due over the next four years that go to community development and cross-border projects as part of a dividend for the peace process
  • Lower corporation tax: with its strong links to the Northern Irish business community, the party has previously said it will push for a reduced corporation tax rate of 12.5% inline with the Republic, from the current UK-wide rate of 19%

Controversial policies and potential for clashes:

  • Anti-abortion: the DUP opposes abortion. After Arlene Foster was elected leader last year she said would work to prevent abortion rights outlined in the Abortion Act 1967 from being extended to Northern Ireland. Abortion is banned in the region, even in cases of rape, incest or when the foetus has no chance of survival after birth
  • Anti-gay marriage: Northern Ireland is the only area of the UK where same-sex marriages are not legal. The DUP used a controversial "petition of concern" to veto its legalisation in 2016
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, leader Arlene Foster and former leader Peter Robinson Credit: PA
  • The return of the death penalty: In 2011 the party reopened calls for Westminster to debate bring back capital punishment. “Recent horrific crimes throughout the United Kingdom have led many to question whether there are certain criminals whose crimes demand such a sentence,2 said five MPs who called for a parliamentary debate
  • Welfare payments: The DUP said last month it opposes Tory plans to break the pensions triple lock, which guarantees annual rises of at least 2.5%, and will "resist any assault" on universal benefits such as winter fuel payments, after the Conservative manifesto pledged to remove the £300 benefit from wealthier pensioners
  • Climate change: The DUP is the only administration in the UK and Ireland not to have its own area-specific legislation to tackle climate change and a its previous environment minister - and a current MP - Sammy Wilson is a climate change denier
  • Creationists: The DUP counts creationists among its senior members, with former health minister Edwin Poots believing earth was created 4,000 years ago. Thomas Buchanan, deputy chair of the learning and employment committee has endorsed an event promoting creationism to be “taught in every school” that will “offer helpful practical advice on how to counter evolutionary teaching”

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