Democratic Unionist Party

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The DUP is the largest party in Northern Ireland, and one of only two major political parties to formally back Brexit at the 2016 EU-Referendum, along with UKIP. DUP MPs had long been signatories to the Better Off Out campaign and by officially supporting the Vote Leave campaign, they helped to ensure that the Leave message reached all 4 constituent nations of the UK by playing a key role in campaigning for Brexit across Northern Ireland. The 50 Groups Behind Brexit. Jonathan Isaby & Matthew Elliott, BrexitCentral, Mar.18.2017.


  • Nov.19.2018: The DUP just stopped supporting Theresa May in parliament. As the House of Commons voted on the Finance Bill – which should have been a rubber-stamping of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget measures – the DUP made good on their threat to scupper Theresa May’s parliamentary majority. Eight of the DUP’s 10 MPs turned up, and in a show of power abstained in votes on the finance bill and voted with the Labour Party on the opposition amendment on child poverty. Ben Gelblum, The London Economic.
  • Nov.10.2018: Arlene Foster: we won’t support any deal that breaks up the union. Arlene Foster has said her party will not back Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement if it contains a Northern Ireland-specific backstop. Mrs Foster told RTÉ News that different treatment for the region would not be acceptable. “[Mrs May] has confirmed there is going to be a Northern Ireland-specific backstop and we will have a different regulatory regime from the rest of the United Kingdom and essentially there is going to be a border down the Irish Sea and no Unionist would be able to swallow that,” she said. Niamh Lyons, The Times.
  • Sept.16.2018: Vote to make abortion legal in Northern Ireland will give Theresa May a DUP headache. Decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland will move a step closer next month when MPs are given their first opportunity to vote on the contentious issue. It is likely to create yet another political headache for Theresa May, who has to balance support for reform among her own MPs with the risks involved in upsetting the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is against any change to the law in Northern Ireland. She is reliant on the DUP’s 10 MPs to prop up her administration. However, Downing Street has insisted that any change can be made only by the region’s devolved Stormont Assembly, which collapsed 20 months ago. Labour MP Diana Johnson believes that far from over-riding devolution, her bill will enable Stormont to liberalise Northern Ireland’s abortion laws when power-sharing resumes. In theory, abortions are illegal across the whole of the UK, but women in England and Wales are given exemptions by the 1967 act. In Mar.2017, MPs voted to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales but the bill made no progress because GE-2017 intervened. Caroline Wheeler, The Sunday Times.
  • Aug.02.2018: Electoral Commission drops investigation into DUP over Brexit spending. Democratic Unionist party faced allegations of breaching spending rules in its pro-Brexit campaign. The Electoral Commission will not investigate the Democratic Unionist party over claims it coordinated its Brexit referendum campaign spending with Vote Leave in order to break legal spending limits. The DUP’s referendum spending was aided by a £435,000 donation from unknown individuals, channelled through an organisation run by a former Scottish Conservative parliamentary candidate. The DUP then spent most of its money campaigning outside Northern Ireland, including buying a £280,000 advert in the Metro newspaper, which is only distributed in Great Britain. The party also paid for targeted Facebook advertising through AggregateIQ, at that time an obscure Canadian social media business, which was at the centre of the illegal campaign coordination between Vote Leave and the campaign group BeLeave, run by the young campaigner Darren Grimes. The Electoral Commission considered the DUP allegations after they were made in a BBC investigation, which alleged the party’s pro-Brexit activity was conducted as part of a common campaign with Vote Leave – enabling the pro-Brexit lobbying group to break spending limits. The regulator has now concluded it “does not have grounds to open an investigation” because it does not have sufficient evidence. Jim Waterson, The Guardian.
  • Mar.10.2018: Top Tories speak at £1,500‑a‑table Unionist dinners. Prominent Conservative MPs including Michael Gove and Priti Patel have attended DUP dinners or fundraisers in recent months. The Tories have their own active operation in Northern Ireland, with candidates standing in general elections and a sitting councillor. Linkback: the DUP’s North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, former DUP assembly member Phillip Logan, Jim Shannon, DUP MP for Strangford, hosted Tory MP Julian Lewis. Andrea Leadsom, Tracey Crouch The times, Sam Coates
  • Feb.12.2018: An unhealthy environment – the DUP, environmental policies, and Brexit. Few in Britain have taken a serious look at the DUP’s environmental record. Tommy Greene examines what it could mean for Ireland’s environment – and for Brexit. Examination shows clear trends in the various ways that Arlene Foster's party have let down Northern Ireland on the environment for years - and how they have form in using the latter as an instrument through which to make the country as pliable as possible to the extractive interests of international capital. (List of environmental crimes.) openDemocracy, Tommy Greene
  • Jan.23.2018: DUP dismiss Gina Miller legal threat over £1bn Tory deal. The DUP has defended itself... The iNews, Sam McBride
  • Jan.20.2018: DUP’s £1 billion is already being spent – but without any Parliamentary authorisation. The first tranche of the £1 billion secured by the DUP as part of its deal with the Tories is already being spent – despite the fact that Parliament has not authorised the expenditure as the Government said would be necessary. The first £20 million instalment of the cash is already being distributed by Stormont departments. Rather than authorising expenditure of the money prior to it being spent, the Govt is planning to ask Parliament to approve the expenditure after some of it has already left the Government account – effectively a retrospective process. The iNews, Sam McBride
  • Jul.14.2017: Are the Tories helping the DUP hide ‘dark money’ donations? James Brokenshire is covering up for the DUP. What looks like a move towards transparency in fact ensures that the party will never have to reveal one of its biggest secrets: one which we all have a right to know. In 2014, the govt passed a law, the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. Among the various miscellaneous provisions was one relating to party donor transparency: from then on, Northern Irish parties would have to declare all donations to the Electoral Commission in the usual way. But they wouldn’t be published until the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said so. Because of this, the parties in Northern Ireland have all assumed that, one day, all the donations to them from 2014 onwards will be published. What James Brokenshire announced in the wake of the confidence and supply agreement with the DUP is that, rather than simply enact this existing law and publish all major donations to political parties in Northern Ireland from 2014 onwards, he will go through all the bother of getting a new law passed in the House of Commons, which will only deliver transparency from July 2017 onwards. In other words, while shouting about transparency, he is enacting new legislation whose only real effect will be to hide donations between 2014 and 2017. Left Foot Forward, Adam Ramsay
  • Jun.09.2018: What links Brexit, dark money and a Saudi prince? Theresa May's reliance on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to form a govt has prompted fresh calls for the Northern Irish party to reveal the source of a controversial six-figure donation that supported the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, amid unverified claims the donation could be linked to figures in Saudi Arabia's intelligence services. The £434,000 ($554,00) in pro-Brexit donations was given to the DUP by a mysterious political organisation called the Constitutional Research Council (CRC). More than £280,000 ($375,000) was then used to buy a four-page advertising supplement in the Metro freesheet newspaper in mainland Britain. The CRC is chaired by Richard Cook, a former chair of the Conservative Party in Scotland, and it has emerged that Cook founded a company in 2013 with Saudi Prince Nawwaf bin Adbul Aziz, according to documents at Companies House. Cook is also reported to be close to Danish businessman Peter Haestrup, who has repeatedly been linked to a gun-running case described by Indian authorities as "the biggest crime in the country's history". Sir Jeffery Donaldson, who was the DUP's Brexit campaign manager, said: "We are satisfied that the Constitutional Research Council is a bona fide organisation. Middle East Eye, MEE Staff
  • May.11.2017: DUP's Brexit campaign spent £33,000 on social media 'micro-targeting' firm. A pro-union group bankrolled the DUP's Brexit campaign, including a £282,000 front-page ad in British newspaper Metro. THE DUP paid almost £33,000 during the EU referendum campaign to Canadian firm AggregrateIQ linked to Donald Trump's billionaire backers that 'micro-targets' voters on social media. AggregrateIQ received the money last year as part of £425,000 spent by the party supporting a Leave vote. The data analytics firm received a total of £3.9m from the official Leave campaign and a further £757,750 from other officially registered campaigns backing Brexit – more than any other company in the referendum. It has led to questions over how separate Leave campaigns each began using a largely unknown technology firm, and its potential impact on the referendum outcome. {Link to Dark Money} The Irish News, Brendan Hughes
  • Feb.15.2017: The "dark money" that paid for Brexit. In the coming weeks, the Electoral Commission will publish details of how much cash the various larger campaigns threw at the EU referendum. The list of big spenders will include some familiar faces: the Conservatives, Labour, the official Leave and Remain initiatives. An unlikely name features: N.Ireland’s DUP. The DUP funded a 4-page wraparound pro-Leave advert in London 2 days before the referendum; would cost ca. £250,000. Why in London?? N.Ireland secrecy laws apply to this cash; in the rest of the UK, parties must report all donations > £7,500 to a national party or £1,500 to a local branch. So anyone who wanted to donate to the Leave campaign without facing the public accountability required by laws in GB could simply funnel money through the DUP. In 2010, Foster's predecessor Peter Robinson was forced to temporarily stand aside after a BBC documentary revealed that his wife Iris Robinson – then an MP and councillor – had procured £50,000 in loans to finance a restaurant for her teenage lover. She failed to declare her interest in the business despite sitting on the council that granted its operating licence. DUP corruption: last year, Ireland’s National Assets Management Agency reported its former N.Ireland advisor, Frank Cushnahan, to police over corruption allegations related to a €1.6bn land sale. Mr Cushnahan had been appointed on the recommendation of the DUP. The Electoral Commission began to keep a record of donors to NI parties from 2007 but public access was temporarily banned by the gov. This ban, called the ‘Prescribed Period,’ was only due to last until Oct.2010 but its end date has been repeatedly extended. In 2010, 77% of respondents to a N.Ireland Office consultation supported full transparency of political donations. After that, Westminster passed a law which states that from Jan.2014 onwards donations made to political parties in N.Ireland could at some point in the future be made public – including donations used in the Brexit campaign. However, under the N.Ireland Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2014, this will not happen until the UK govt judges it is safe to do so. Which is the simplest way that we could find out where this mystery cash for the DUP's Brexit spending came from: N.Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire has it within his power to simply release them. openDomocracy, Peter Geoghegan, Adam Ramsay
  • Cartoon: "Theresa May finally seals the deal with the DUP to cobble together a government. It involves a billion quid's worth of bribe money to keep them on board. So there is a "magic money tree" after all."