Why, now that the voting is over, are the conservatives appearing to try to reassure voters at the expense of the DUP?

A quote from Sir Michael Fallon:

"It doesn't mean we now agree with all their views," he said.

This seems to me that it would alienate the DUP, and make a good deal less likely.

Why did they chose to appeal to the public over their teammates?

  • I feel the title of the question needs some work - feel free to edit. My brain is falling asleep.
    – Tim
    Jun 12, 2017 at 0:06
  • I think it would be better something like "Why are the Conservatives remarking their differences with the DUP if they want their support". As per the current answer (and the coalition talks), it seems that they are not as much opposed as do not want people to consider them as too close to the DUP, despite forming a coalition with them.
    – SJuan76
    Jun 12, 2017 at 8:37
  • The DUP was co-founded by Ian Paisley. Nuff said. Jun 12, 2017 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


The DUP hold extremely socially conservative views that are not shared by the majority of the British electorate

They are extremely socially conservative

  • They are against LGBT rights

    The former leader of the Party Ian Paisley launched a political campaign in 1977 called "Save Ulster from Sodomy", to prevent the decriminalization of homosexuality in Northern Ireland. As this article goes on to state:

    Arlene Foster’s ultra-conservative Northern Irish party has previously supported the introduction of a ‘conscience clause’ to protect religious people who want to discriminate against anyone who is LGBT.

    This means LGBT people could be refused service or turned down for jobs simply because of their sexuality or gender.

    The DUP has stalled all progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland, attempted to retain a lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, and opposed same-sex couples adopting children.

This is problematic since the vast majority (over 90% given data was sampled in 2007 and since then trends show liberalisation of attitude), support LGBT rights in UK. If the conservative party did not criticize these views of the DUP they could risk massively damaging their credibility with their own voters in mainland UK.

  • The DUP oppose abortion

    Their leader Arlene Fox said and I quote

    I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England.

    The article goes on to mention that due to the DUP's anti-abortion stance

    Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless a woman’s life is in danger or there is a serious or permanent risk to her mental or physical health. As it stands, fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest are not grounds for an abortion.

Mainland UK has one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, and the vast majority of voters support abortion in Britain. Again not openly opposing the DUP's stances would risk conservative votes in the UK, and they could be punished for such stances next time they go to the polls.

The DUP also has a reputation for climate denial, in 2008 the DUP's environment minister said

I still think man-made climate change is a con

As the governments own public attitudes survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change says (emphasis mine)

The level of concern over climate change has risen slightly at wave 17, increasing from 66% at wave 13 to 70% at the latest wave. Levels of concern over climate change were highest amongst 55 -64 year olds (80%), those earning over £35,000 per year (77%), and social grades AB (76%) and C1 (76%). Concern was lowest amongst social renters (57%) and those in social grades DE (57%). Respondents were more likely to see climate change as a result of human activity compared with natural processes. Four in ten (43%) believe it is caused mainly by human activity,compared to only one in ten (10%) that believe it is mainly down to natural processes. Four in ten think it is caused by a mixture of human activity and natural causes (41%).

As you can see not only are the majority of British voters believers of climate change but concern is highest amongst 55-64 year olds. Older voters especially tend to vote for the conservatives, so they aren't going to sacrifice their own votes to support climate denial for this Irish party.

Finally the DUP has links to paramilitary groups and endorsements from such terrorist organisations, as this article states

The UDA is less known in England than the IRA, largely because they killed Northern Irish Catholics during the Troubles, which didn’t make the news as often as the killing of English people or security personnel. The UDA is a violent loyalist paramilitary group, which is still active today. Just weeks ago, it murdered a man in broad daylight in Northern Ireland. The man was shot dead in a Sainsbury’s car park in front of horrified shoppers and his three-year-old son.

The UDA backed the DUP in this election by issuing a statement in support of the party’s South Belfast candidate Emma Little Pengelly, “strongly urging” people to back her.

One of the frequent things that conservative supporting news outlets and one of the bastions of conservative attack was the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyns supposed support of the IRA (an Irish paramilitary organisation), if the Conservatives sign a deal with the DUP. He can just as easily turn around and say look your "friends and allies" support paramilitary organisations in Ireland.

TLDR: The DUP are considered radically to the right of British politics, and refusing to condemn them would cost the conservatives a huge number of votes in mainland UK, ergo they will oppose them.

  • Surely they already have those mainland votes? Or is this thinking ahead to no confidence votes, and future general elections?
    – Tim
    Jun 12, 2017 at 14:37
  • @Tim Think about future general elections, the conservatives aren't going to bargain future votes on this power sharing deal. Like the Lib-dems even though they did their tution fees thing in 2010, they got wiped out 5 years later at the ballot box by angry voters. The general public has a long memory and vote forget a conservative party supporting these principles. Jun 12, 2017 at 14:57
  • It might be worth mentioned various corruption/incompetence scandals such as Red Sky and Cash For Ash. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Sky_scandal en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_Heat_Incentive_scandal It's interesting how this arrangement caused so many articles about the DUP in the mainstream British media. No doubt far more people are aware of the DUP than before and I am certain that Labour and other campaigners will be trying to tie the Conservatives to the DUP in future elections (which are likelyt to be sooner rather than later)
    – Eric Nolan
    Dec 12, 2018 at 17:25

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