June 9 (UPI) — Northern Ireland’s Democratic Union Party said it reached a deal with Britain’s Conservative Party to keep Prime Minister Theresa May in power.
DUP leaders said talks through the night on Thursday were driven by their desire to keep Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn from becoming prime minister. In Thursday’s parliamentary election, the ruling Conservative Party won 318 seats, eight short of a majority; support from the 21 Parliament members of the DUP, regarded as Britain’s most socially conservative party, would cement May’s status to continue leading Britain’s government.
The Labor Party now has 261 seats in Parliament.
Both sides stopped short of calling the deal a coalition. The DUP, a small but now influential political party, said it would consider a “confidence and supply” agreement by which it would provide support in the House of Commons to the Conservatives in exchange for enactment of some of its policies.
May will visit Queen Elizabeth II, as protocol dictates, on Friday to confirm that a deal has been arranged.
Senior DUP leaders said they moved quickly to cement a deal with May to prevent Corbyn from becoming prime minister. In the past, Corbyn has been a supporter of the left-wing Sinn Fein Party and the pro-independence Irish Republican Army.
“We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labor, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM,” an unidentified DUP source told The Guardian.
A precondition of the alliance is an assurance that Northern Ireland would not receive special status after Britain leaves the European Union, said Nigel Dodds, re-elected as a DUP Parliament member from North Belfast. The DUP is concerned that any arrangement by which Northern Ireland could remain in the EU, a key demand of the rival Sinn Fein Party, could potentially split Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain.