When Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to negotiate a partnership with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), critics and observers pointed to deeply conservative statements of some DUP members and warned that the Conservatives risked being dragged to the far right of the political spectrum.
However, two University of Liverpool experts in Northern Ireland politics argue that the modern DUP is a pragmatic and politically sophisticated party. And, far from dragging the Conservatives to the right, they may actually pull them to the left on economic issues.
Peter Shirlow is the Director of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies.
Jonathan Tonge is a professor of politics at the University of Liverpool and co-author of the book ‘The Democratic Unionist’.