Northern Ireland news

Nelson McCausland: DUP is a fairly compassionate party

Former DUP MLA for North Belfast, Nelson McCausland, told the BBC’s Today programme: “The DUP would tend to be a fairly compassionate party."

The DUP is striving to portary itself as a responsible and compassionate party after a weekend of negative coverage of its policies from around the UK. 

As talks continue between the DUP and Conservatives over a potential confidence-and-supply arrangement to support Theresa May's minority government, the DUP have come under increasing scrutiny over the eye-catching views of senior members on issues like creationism, climate change, gay marriage, parading and legacy investigations.

There has also been a surge in interest with regards to the DUP's stance on loyalist paramilitaries. 

Former DUP MLA for North Belfast Nelson McCausland told the BBC’s Today programme: “The DUP would tend to be a fairly compassionate party. They would be a party that would want to avoid extremes of austerity".

"They would favour the retention of the triple lock on pensions, they favour the retention of the winter fuel payments as a universal benefit, they have expressed concerns about the ‘dementia tax’ and so on," he added.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has hit out at the negative coverage of her party. She branded some of the commentary and analysis about her party as "inaccurate and misleading".

"I have no doubt over time those responsible will look foolish in the extreme," she said.

Mrs Foster added: "When I meet with the prime minister in London tomorrow, I will be mindful of our responsibility to help bring stability to the nation at this time of challenge."

On Saturday, The Daily Mirror dismissed Theresa May's link-up with what it calls the "hard right, anti-gay DUP" as a "coalition of crackpots".

The newspaper ran an article entitled: '7 nasty or awkward DUP beliefs that show their deal with Theresa May could be a coalition of chaos'

The Sun had a picture of Theresa May with the DUP leader Arlene Foster under the headline: "The odd coupling".

The editor of the i, Oliver Duff, wrote: "In a reversal of fortunes, Arlene Foster can entertain herself with the idea of imposing direct rule on Westminster from Stormont."

The internet has been awash with satirical posts, pictures and videos poking fun at the prospect of a Tory government propped up by the DUP.

Mocked-up images include Theresa May depicted as an Orangewoman, as a flute band member, and surrounded on the green Westminster benches by hooded loyalists.

One picture of Downing Street shows it with red, white and blue kerbstones, Northern Ireland flags hanging outside – and an RHI boiler being installed by workmen.

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