Theresa May’s deal with the DUP could collapse

Theresa May’s attempts to get into bed with the DUP are not going well.

After failing to get an overall majority in this month’s snap election, the Conservative Party has been trying to sign a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.

However, despite early signs that a deal would be reached quickly, the Tories have struggled to ink a deal with the anti-LGBT ultra-conservative unionist party.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been forced to make assurances to her own party that there will be no backslide on equality issues, but facing steep economic demands from the DUP, the deal could yet collapse.

Arlene Foster

The DUP yesterday warned that they could walk away from the “chaotic” deal.

DUP sources told the Guardian that the party “can’t be taken for granted” and that negotiations “haven’t proceeded in the way we would have expected”.

Senior Tory Damian Green insisted a deal was still “possible” on the Today programme, a less certain term than used previously.

He said: “There’s still the possibility, there’s every possibility, of a DUP deal. The talks have been taking place in a constructive way.

“Clearly, two political parties, we have some differences, but we have a lot in common.

He added: “All talks of this kind take a long time, they are still continuing.”

It was revealed yesterday that DUP leader Arlene Foster had sent letters to the Scottish government seeking to interfere over equal marriage.

The Scottish government published the letters, which Ms Foster previously claimed she could not recall the existence of.

Ms Foster had appealed to the Scottish Government to exempt Northern Irish civil partnerships from a law permitting civil partnerships to be converted to marriages.

The DUP is strongly opposed to LGBT equality.

The party has a long history of homophobic rhetoric, and continues to employ peace process powers to override votes in favour of equal marriage in the Northern Irish Assembly.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster recently insisted gay people don’t really want to get married anyway.

She said: “This suggestion that every single person who’s a homosexual wants to change the definition of marriage is actually wrong.

“I know plenty of people in that community who don’t want to see marriage redefined and are quite content to live in partnership… it’s all become a bit of a storm in a teacup.”

A DUP minister previously branded LGBT Pride events “totally repugnant”.

Among the ten MPs that the Tories want to bring onside is Ian Paisley Jr, the son of ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ leader Ian Paisley who founded the DUP.

Paisley Jr has spoken of his “hatred” of homosexuality, saying: “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society.”

The MP defended his comments in 2013, saying: “I am repulsed by many things.The actions, and not specifically the individuals. I am repulsed by people who are not homosexual as well sometimes.”