Friends and allies? Theresa May and the DUP

Catherine McGlynn, Shaun McDaid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


After the loss of her majority in 2017, Theresa May announced that “our friends and allies” the DUP would be central to the formation of a new Government in a speech that made rare use of the Tories’ full title the Conservative and Unionist Party. Although the resulting supply and confidence deal did not bring the DUP into coalition, we argue that it was they who paid a high “cost of governing” and the damage for their credibility and aims ended up being significant. We will examine how even though the DUP deal did not provide May with her ultimate requirement of a path through Brexit, alliance with the Democratic Unionists did not alter the Conservatives’ modernising drift to more socially liberal values and did not cost them the advertised price tag of financial support for Northern Ireland. In addition, we will examine how the DUP, who had been on an enforced journey of moderation as they eclipsed the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, failed to grasp the extent to which the Conservative Party was in flux because of radicalising tendencies within it, and that they were ultimately dispensable as new goals and new visions of the British state became possible within a post-Brexit context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStatecraft
Subtitle of host publicationPolicies and Politics under Prime Minister Theresa May
EditorsAndrew S. Roe-Crines, David Jeffery
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-32472-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-32471-0
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Political Leadership (PSPL)
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2947-5821
ISSN (Electronic)2947-583X


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