Democratic Unionist Party

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Group.png Democratic Unionist Party   PowerbaseRdf-icon.png
FounderIan Paisley
Headquarters91 Dundela Avenue Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Member ofInternational Democrat Union

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a unionist political party in Northern Ireland. Ian Paisley founded the DUP in 1971, during the Troubles, and led the party for the next 37 years. Now led by Arlene Foster, it is the party with the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fifth-largest party in the House of Commons. Following the UK/2017 General Election, the party has agreed to support a Conservative minority government on a case-by-case basis on matters of mutual concern.[1]

The DUP evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party and has historically strong links to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the church Paisley founded. During the Troubles, the DUP opposed attempts to resolve the conflict that would involve sharing power with Irish nationalists or republicans, and rejected attempts to involve the Republic of Ireland in Northern Irish affairs. It campaigned against the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.[2] In the 1980s, the party was involved in setting up the paramilitary movements Third Force and Ulster Resistance.

It is right-wing and socially conservative, being anti-abortion and opposing same-sex marriage. The DUP sees itself as defending Britishness and Ulster Protestant culture against Irish nationalism. The party is Eurosceptic and during the 2016 EU Referendum it supported the UK's withdrawal from the EU.[3][4]

For most of the DUP's history, the Ulster Unionist Party was the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, but by 2004 the DUP had overtaken the UUP in terms of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Westminster Parliament. Following the St Andrews Agreement in 2006, the DUP agreed to enter into power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin. Despite reports of divisions within the party, a majority of the party executive voted in favour of power-sharing in 2007.[5] However, the DUP's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jim Allister,[6] and seven DUP councillors[7] left the party in opposition to its plans to share power with Sinn Féin, founding the Traditional Unionist Voice.[8] Peter Robinson became DUP leader in 2008.


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Document:The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save BrexitArticle19 March 2019Patrick Cockburn
Document:The Price of Peaceblog post6 November 2018Craig Murray
Document:The Real Reason Theresa May’s Brexit Has FailedArticle2 March 2019TJ Coles


  1. "Conservatives agree pact with DUP to support May government". BBC News. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.

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  2. Document:The Price of Peace
  3. "DUP confirms it will campaign for Brexit in Leave/Remain referendum". Belfast Telegraph. Belfast Telegraph. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2017. The Democratic Unionist Party has formally announced its intention to campaign for a Brexit.

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  4. Jamie Merrill (9 June 2017). "What is the DUP position on Brexit?". The Essential Daily Briefing. iNews. Retrieved 16 June 2017. No-one wants to see a ‘hard’ Brexit, what we want to see is a workable plan to leave the European Union, and that’s what the national vote was about – therefore we need to get on with that.

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  5. "DUP 'would share power in May'". BBC News Online. BBC. 24 March 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007.

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  6. "Allister quits power-sharing DUP". BBC News Online. BBC. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.

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  7. "Seventh councillor leaves the DUP". BBC News Online. BBC. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007.

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  8. "New unionist group to be launched". BBC News.

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