Meet the DUP MPs who now hold the balance of power

Ian Paisley Jnr

Ian Paisley Jnr and colleagues can now extract concessions from Mrs May CREDIT: PAUL FAITH

Thursday’s shock general election result means Theresa May must co-opt the support of ten MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party in order to command even a wafer-thin majority and remain as Prime Minister.

They’re an interesting group.

Between them they have expressed support for the death penalty, creationism and documents advocating internment of Catholics.

They have warned the Conservatives there will be a “price to be paid” for their support.

So, who are the new Northern Irish kingmakers who now hold the balance of power?

Sammy Wilson – East Antrim

Sammy wilson
Sammy Wilson is an old campaigner CREDIT: PAUL MCERLANE

Earlier this year the former Lord Mayor of Belfast equated Sinn Fein with Isis, and he has been accused of condoning calls for ethnic cleansing when he voiced approval for a a call for Catholics to be “expelled, nullified, or interned.”

In 1994 the Ulster Defence Association had published a document intending to “establish an ethnic Protestant homeland”. It discussed taking large sections of the Catholic community hostage as “bargaining chips” for the release of Protestants living in counties where the British Army no longer patrolled.

As a DUP press officer at the time, Mr Wilson said: “While some will no doubt denounce and ridicule their plan, nevertheless it shows that some loyalist paramilitaries are looking ahead and contemplating what needs to be done to maintain our separate Ulster identity.

“While I have always been careful never to threaten a Bosnian type situation in Northern Ireland, it is clear that others foresee such a possibility. It is unfortunate that Ulstermen are now having to contemplate such dramatic and radical action.”

He served as Northern Ireland’s environment minister from 2008, but was not much concerned about man-made climate change, describing much of the science surrounding the issue as “hysterical pseudo religion”.

The 64-year-old also served as Finance Minister in the province, which coincided with the worst recession in Northern Ireland’s history.

On Saturday he warned there would be a “price to be paid” by the Conservatives for DUP support, hinting that the party’s wish list would include an end to investigations of soldiers and police for their part in the Troubles.

 

Ian Paisley Junior – North Antrim

Ian Paisley Junior
Ian Paisley Junior campaigning with his father CREDIT: REUTERS

Son of the party’s firebrand founder Reverend Ian Paisley, Ian Paisley Junior has held his father’s old seat of North Antrim since 2010.

He was a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage and has described himself as “pretty repulsed” by homosexuality.

“I think it’s wrong – I think that those people harm themselves and, without caring about it, harm society,” he said in 2007.

He appeared to qualify his remarks later, however, saying: “I think I have grown up since then. I have strong Christian beliefs and moral viewpoints, but you have to realise that while sin is black and white, life is a lot of grey.”

“You have to realise that while sin is black and white, life is a lot of grey.”

He is also a friend of Donald Trump and has invited the US President to visit Northern Ireland when the Open golf championship at Portrush in 2019.

 

Nigel Dodds – North Belfast

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds with First Minister Arlene Foster CREDIT: PAUL FAITH

This top lawyer worked in for the European Parliament in the 1990’s and his wife is one of Northern Ireland’s three MEPs.

Twice the target of apparent assassination attempts, Mr Dodds once attended the wake of paramilitary leader John Bingham with DUP founder Rvd Ian Paisley.

In 2013 he was expelled from the House of Commons chamber after accusing the Conservative Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers of “deliberate deception” over Orange an Orange parade ruling.

 

Emma Little-Pengelly – South Belfast

Emma Little-Pengelly
Emma Little-Pengelly was backed by paramilitary organisations CREDIT: PA

During the campaign, she received the endorsement of the three biggest loyalist paramilitary organisations, and her father Noel Little was one of three men arrested in Paris in April 1989, along with a South African diplomat and an arms dealer.

Ms Little-Pengelly said she has “unconditional love” for her father, who was handed a suspended sentence and fined for his part in the plot.

 

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson – Lagan Valley

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson started political life in the Ulster Unionist Party CREDIT: PA

It was the IRA murder of two family members that prompted Sir Jeffrey to enter politics, following a stint in the Ulster Defence Regiment, where he achieved the rank of corporal.

But it was the now eclipsed Ulster Unionist Part that he first joined, forming part of David Trimble’s negotiating team during the Good Friday Agreement talks in 1998.

He came to oppose his leader’s stance, however, criticising the lack of a link between IRA weapons decommissioning and Sinn Fein’s admittance to government.

He joined the DUP in 2003 and is Northern Ireland’s longest serving MP

 

David Simpson – Upper Bann

David Simpson
David Simpson says there was no ‘Adam and Steve’ in the Garden of Eden CREDIT: PA

A vociferous opponent of same-sex marriage, Mr Simpson used a speech in the House of Commons in 2013 to observe that “In the Garden of Eden it was Adam and Eve; it wasn’t Adam and Steve.”

He has also lobbied to have creationism included in the science curriculum in Northern Ireland.

In 2005 he ousted David Trimble from his parliamentary seat.

 

Gregory Campbell – East Londonderry

Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell has described homosexuality as “evil” CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Mr Campbell has called for the reintroduction of the death penalty and opposes same-sex marriage, having described homosexuality as an “evil, wicked, abhorrent practice”.

He was also the subject of a strike by the National Union of Journalists in 1985 after a BBC documentary that portrayed him loading a legally held gun, interspersed with pictures of him addressing a rally, was blocked by Margaret Thatcher’s Government.

 

Jim Shannon

Jim Shannon
Least sexy MP ever, or just in 2011? Either way, Jim Shannon laughs it off CREDIT: PRESSEYE

Jim Shannon is another loyalist and one-time member of the Ulster Defence Regiment driven to politics because of the IRA murder of a family member.

He is unique, however, in having been voted the least sexy MP of 2011, a accolade he laughed off at the time.

In 2016 he was ordered to repay almost £14,000 in mileage expenses claims.

But the an investigation by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority put the incorrect claims down to “a number of errors”, rather than fraud.

 

Gavin Robinson

Gavin Robinson celebrates with his wife Lindsay
Gavin Robinson celebrates with his wife Lindsay CREDIT: PAUL MCERLANE

This former barrister won back East Belfast for the DUP in 2015 after the party’s then leader Peter Robinson, who is not related, was defeated there in 2010.

He was educated locally at Queen’s University, Belfast.

 

Paul Girvan – South Antrim

Paul Girvan
Paul Girvan has experience as a mayor CREDIT: TELEGRAPH

Won his seat at the first time of trying, beating the Ulster Unionist candidate by 3,000 votes.

He has previously served as mayor of Newtownabbey.

 

How do the Conservatives feel about this?

Senior Conservatives have warned the Prime Minister not to compromise on social policy after Democratic Unionist Party politicians said there would be a “price to be paid” for their backing.

Tories have rallied behind Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson after she demanded assurances from the Prime Minister that any deal with the DUP avoids concessions on equal rights.

Ms Davidson, who became engaged to her partner Jen Wilson last year, told the BBC: “I was fairly straightforward with her (Theresa May) and I told her that there were a number of things that count to me more than the party.

“One of them is country, one of the others is LGBTI rights. I asked for a categoric assurance that if any deal or scoping deal was done with the DUP there would be absolutely no rescission of LGBTI rights in the rest of the UK, in Great Britain, and that we would use any influence that we had to advance LGBTI rights in Northern Ireland.

“It’s an issue very close to my heart and one that I wanted categoric assurances from the prime minister on, and I received them.”

Neil Carmichael, the former Conservative chair of the Education Select Committee, who lost his Stroud seat on Thursday, said Ms Davidson’s intervention was “absolutely right”.

Meanwhile Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, tweeted: “I joined a party that introduced equal marriage, backs civil rights and defends freedom of faith. “Those principles won’t be compromised.”

However, former cabinet member Owen Paterson played down the chances of significant social debates cropping up in the coming Parliament, although he hinted there might be a debate on reducing the legal time limit for abortion “as medical science advances”.

By Saturday evening more than half a million people had signed an online petition protesting against the Conservatives forming a Government with the DUP.