Regarding discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party, Nigel Adams MP writes on 13 June 2017:
The Prime Minister is not seeking to form a coalition with the DUP, as we did with the Liberal Democrats in 2010. The DUP would not be partners in the government, nor would they have Ministers in it. Instead, the two Parties are discussing an arrangement based on ‘confidence and supply’, which means that the DUP would support the Conservatives if there was a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the government, and also to get the Budget through the House of Commons. If a government fails to pass its Budget or loses a vote of no confidence, then a general election has to be called.
The country needs a government, and the failure to create one will lead to another general election within the next few weeks, just when Brexit negotiations have to start. So it is perfectly right for the Prime Minister who leads the Party with the most seats in the House of Commons to form a government and approach other parties to ensure that her government can pass legislation and govern the country.
Whatever combination of parties is involved in the government, they would be required to talk to and work with the DUP. As the Conservative Party has more MPs that all the other parties put together (excluding the Northern Ireland parties), it is right that we should take the lead in forming a new government.
There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons. One is the Speaker, who is neutral, and there are seven Sinn Fein MPs, who,do not take their seats in parliament. That leaves 642, meaning that any government needs to secure the support of at least 322 MPs to command a majority in the House of Commons.
The Conservative Party has 318 MPs, four short of the required number. The Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party have both ruled out going into coalition with the Conservatives. Even if the Labour Party was able to construct a coalition involving the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, their combined total would only be 314 MPs, four fewer than the Conservatives, and eight short of a majority in the House of Commons. This means that Labour and all the other left wing parties combined, would need to work with the DUP in order to form a government.
A few people have expressed ‘outrage’ at a potential deal with the DUP and I can only assume that they are similarly outraged at the news confirmed by the DUP, that the Labour Party also approached the DUP in 2010 and 2015 in order to form a strategic alliance. This fact does not seem to appear in any of the recent online campaigns which in my view are seeking to undermine the Prime Minister’s legitimate attempt to govern the country.
This not a meeting of minds with the DUP: there will be many things on which we disagree as well as issues on which we can work together. But we do not need to share every individual value and belief of some of their members in order to cooperate. I welcome the assurance given by the Prime Minister to Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, that there will be no changes to our social policy and in particular LGBT & women’s rights – and I also assure my constituents that I do not support backsliding on LGBT rights, or changes to reproductive rights, and I will vote accordingly. We have a responsibility at this time to work in the national interest by ensuring that a new government is formed, and I support the Prime Minister, who is the only leader to have put forward a workable plan to do so.