Democratic Unionist Party

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Posted by r2d2 03/05/2009 @ 07:11

Tags : democratic unionist party, northern ireland, united kingdom, europe, world

News headlines
DUP unveils plan for total reform of expenses system - Irish Times
THE DEMOCRATIC Unionist Party (DUP) is calling for the abolition of the MPs' expenses system and its replacement with a model that does not entitle members to claim for food, furnishings or household goods. The party again defended its role in the...
DUP claimed £20000 each in second home allowances - Ireland Online
The Democratic Unionist Party claimed more than £20000 (€22650) per MP in second home allowances, a spokesman disclosed today. Most was spent on mortgage interest payments and council tax for the group, he added. The party called for the MPs' expenses...
Unionists Defection Revealed - 4ni.co.uk
He subsequently had a meeting with Lady Sylvia Hermon who is reported as having asked him to stay in the party - but he decided his future lay with the Democratic Unionist Party instead. The UUP has linked up with the Tories to contest elections as...
Ditch Martin - but don't forget about the other bad apples - Spectator.co.uk
Mr Wishart was proposed as a replacement for Democratic Ulster Unionist (DUP) MP Nigel Dodds, whose role as Northern Ireland Finance Minister meant he would not have enough time to play a full role on what is set to be a busy committee....
Robinsons claimed £30000 for food - Irish Times
The Democratic Unionist Party leader said today he was satisfied all the money paid to him and his wife was legitimately claimed. He defended the food claims accusing the Daily Telegraph of lumping their individual monthly claims together to arrive at...
Breakaway unionist says he can retain seat despite election while ... - Irish Times
TUV CAMPAIGN: JIM ALLISTER of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party has insisted that he can retain his European seat even though he was elected four years ago while standing for the DUP. Mr Allister broke away from the DUP and formed his own...
June 4th to be defining election - DUP candidate - Irish Times
THE DEMOCRATIC Unionist Party (DUP) candidate in the European elections, Diane Dodds, has described the poll on June 4th in Northern Ireland as a “defining election”. Ms Dodds, at the launch of the DUP campaign or “battle bus” outside Stormont...
Hermon: why she rejected Tory deal - Belfast Telegraph
The Ulster Unionist Party has been thrown into turmoil after its only MP rejected the party's new allegiance with the Conservatives by declaring she would not stand under its banner at the General Election. Lady Sylvia Hermon confirmed suspicions that...
The ETUC's Days of Action—a cynical manoeuvre by Europe's trade ... - World Socialist Web Site
Waiting to greet Sommer following his descent from the stage in Berlin, and smiling their approval as Sommer spoke, were the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Franz Müntefering, and the Green Party's leading candidate for the upcoming European...
Liam Clarke: Uphill task for Sinn Fein in EU election - Times Online
The two big parties — Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) — will be concentrating on who can top the poll and will dismiss smaller parties as vote-splitters. Once the main sectarian head-count is settled, the interest will turn to the...

Democratic Unionist Party

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The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is the largest party in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The DUP has strong links to Protestant churches, particularly the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, the church Ian Paisley founded, and is considered a Protestant political party. The party has a youth wing at Queen's University Belfast under the title Democratic Unionist Association (DUA) and also at the University of Ulster.

Following on from the St Andrews Agreement in October 2006, the DUP has agreed with the Irish republican party Sinn Féin to enter into power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland. In the aftermath of the agreement there were reports of divisions within the DUP. Many of its leading members, including Members of Parliament (MPs) Nigel Dodds, David Simpson and Gregory Campbell were claimed to be in opposition to Paisley. All the party's MPs fully signed up to the manifesto for the 2007 Assembly elections, supporting power sharing in principle. An overwhelming majority of the party executive voted in favour of restoring devolution in a meeting in March 2007; however, the DUP's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Jim Allister, and seven DUP councillors later resigned from the party in opposition to its plans to share power with Sinn Féin. They founded the Traditional Unionist Voice on 2007-12-07.

The party was established in 1971 by Ian Paisley and Desmond Boal and other members of the Protestant Unionist Party. It has won seats at local council, province, national and European level. It won eight seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly of 1973-1974, where it opposed the formation of a power-sharing executive made up of unionists and nationalists following the Sunningdale Agreement. The DUP were more radically unionist than the UUP. The establishment of this political party arguably stemmed from insecurities of the Protestant working class. Paisley was elected one of Northern Ireland's three European Parliament members at the first elections in 1979 and retained that seat in every European election until 2004. In 2004 Paisley was replaced as the DUP MEP by Jim Allister, who resigned from the party in 2007 while retaining his seat.

The DUP also holds seats in the British House of Commons, and has been elected to each of the Northern Ireland conventions and assemblies set up since the party's creation. It has long been the major rival to the other major unionist party, the Ulster Unionist Party (known for a time in the 1970s and 1980s as the Official Unionist Party (OUP) to distinguish it from the then multitude of other unionist parties, some set up by deposed former leaders). However, the DUP's main rivals are the Irish Republican Sinn Féin and the Irish nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

The DUP was originally involved in the negotiations under former United States Senator George J. Mitchell that led to the Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement on account of the day on which it was signed). The party withdrew in protest when Sinn Féin, a republican party with ties to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), was allowed to participate despite the IRA retaining weapons. The DUP opposed the Agreement in the referendum that followed its signing, and which saw the Agreement approved reasonably comfortably nonetheless.

The DUP fought the resulting election to the Northern Ireland Assembly and took two seats in the multi-party power-sharing executive but while serving as ministers refused to sit in at meetings of the Executive Committee (cabinet) in protest at Sinn Féin's participation. The Executive ultimately collapsed over an alleged IRA espionage ring at Stormont. (see Stormontgate).

In the delayed Northern Ireland Assembly election of 2003, the DUP became the largest political party in the region, with 30 seats. In 2004, it became the largest Northern Ireland party at Westminster, with the defection of Jeffrey Donaldson. On December 12, 2004, English MP Andrew Hunter took the DUP whip, giving the party seven seats, in comparison to the UUP's five, Sinn Féin's four, and the SDLP's three.

In the 2005 general election, the party reinforced its position as the largest unionist party, winning nine seats, making it the fourth largest party in terms of seats in the British House of Commons behind Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In terms of votes, the DUP is the fourth largest party on the island of Ireland.

When this is compared to the Northern Ireland local government elections (held on the same day as the Westminster General Election but under Proportional Representation), then the final figures would indicate that, had the Westminster General Election been on a Proportional Representation basis instead of the First-past-the-post system, the DUP would only have had six seats and the UUP and Sinn Féin four seats each. The SDLP would still have its three seats but there would have been another seat for an independent.

In 2007, two DUP members raised the issue of creationism and intelligent design, questioning the availability of materials and resources for schools wishing to teach alternative theories to the evolution. Additionally, one of these members, MP David Simpson, asked for assurances that students who gave creationist answers to examination questions would not be marked lower for it. A spokesman for the DUP confirmed that these views are consistent with party policy.

The DUP has consistently held the view that any party which is linked to a terrorist organisation should not be eligible to hold Government office. The activities of the IRA and the other paramilitary groups have been monitored by the Independent Monitoring Commission.

On 11 April 2006, it was announced that three DUP members were to be elevated to the House of Lords: Maurice Morrow, Wallace Browne, the former Lord Mayor of Belfast, and Eileen Paisley, a vice-president of the DUP and wife of DUP Leader Ian Paisley. None, however, sit as DUP peers.

On 27 October 2006, the DUP issued a four page letter in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper asking the question "Are the terms of Saint Andrew's a basis of moving forward to devolution?", with responses to be received to its party headquarters by the 8 November. It was part of the party's overall direction of consultation with its electorate before entering a power-sharing assembly.

On 24 November 2006, Ian Paisley refused to nominate himself as First Minister of Northern Ireland designate. There was confusion between all parties whether he actually said that if Sinn Féin supported policing and the rule of law that he would nominate himself on 28 March 2007 after the Assembly elections on 7 March 2007. The Assembly meeting was brought to an abrupt end when they had to evacuate because of a security breach. Ian Paisley later released a statement through the press office stating that he did in fact imply that if Sinn Féin supported policing and the rule of law, he would go into power sharing with Sinn Féin. This was following a statement issued by 12 DUP MLAs stating that what Ian Paisley had said in the chamber could not be interpreted as a nomination.

The DUP has recently suggested that it would begin to impose fines up to £20,000 on members disobeying the party whip on crucial votes.

On 27 March 2007, the party's sole Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jim Allister, resigned from the party, in opposition to the decision to enter powersharing with Sinn Féin, he will retain his seat as an Independent MEP. MP Gregory Campbell has warned on April 6, 2007 that his party will be watching to see if benefits flow from the party's agreement to share power with Sinn Féin.

On 7 May 2007 The East Antrim MLA George Dawson passed away after a short battle against cancer. He was replaced by Alastair Ross, who had previously worked as a Parliamentary Researcher for the East Antrim MP and MLA Sammy Wilson.

On 30 May 2008 the DUP held a farewell event to mark the retirement of Ian Paisley as leader of the Party. It was held at the Balmoral Hall, part of the Kings Hall complex in Belfast.

On 11 June 2008 the party supported the governments proposal to detain terror suspects for up to 42 days.

On Sinn Féin's website it explained that a Sinn Féin assembly member said that he wanted to understand why the DUP's 'Kick the Pope' flute band" is "listed to appear alongside a right-wing neo-Nazi organisation, the British Ulster Alliance." The BUA has denied in one of its articles called "Divided we fall" that the North Belfast News said the BUA was linked to Combat 18. The DUP does not seem to know this so their position has not been clear on this problem.

Founder Ian Paisley led the party from its foundation in 1971 onwards, but was forced to bring forward his retirement to the spring of 2008. He was replaced by former deputy leader Peter Robinson on 31 May 2008.

The DUP has been described as an anti-gay party by Pink News and as having a near pathological obsession with all things gay by The Observer. In 1976, its leader Ian Paisley campaigned to "Save Ulster from Sodomy" by maintaining the laws that defined anal intercourse and any sexual contact between men as crimes. Later, some DUP MPs have spoken out against homosexuality in different ways, while tending to avoid outright calls to punish or discriminate against gay people.

In 2005, DUP Councillor Maurice Mills claimed that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to the United States as an act of judgment upon those who practise sodomy.

In the same year, The Sunday World reported that the DUP's then Westminster candidate Paul Berry had allegedly met a male masseur in a Belfast hotel. Mr Berry later confirmed he was "there for a sports massage". He later resigned from the DUP.

In May 2007, Ian Paisley, Jr. was criticised for stating during an interview that he was "repulsed" by homosexuals. In this instance, the DUP claim that there was no suggestion of any form of discrimination in any of Mr Paisley Jr's comments though the SDLP's equality spokeswoman, Dolores Kelly, requested that the assembly censure Mr Paisley. At the time he was a Junior Minister in OFMDFM with responsibility for equality.

In February 2008, councillor Edwin Poots condemned gay rugby team the Ulster Titans calling it a form of "apartheid". The Lisburn councillor had also tried to ban Civil Partnerships from taking place in Lisburn Civic Centre. Councillor Poots, who is also a Stormont MLA, was also involved in a row over funding events such as Gay Pride. Despite strong opposition from within his Church, his party were bound by equality legislation to provide the funds.

In June 2008, Iris Robinson made controversial comments on the Stephen Nolan breakfast show on Radio Ulster, saying that "I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals - trying to turn away from what they are engaged in". The pyschiatrist in question, Dr Paul Millar, later resigned from his post as advisor to Robinson and from his post as consultant psychiatrist at Belfast's Mater Hospital. A few days later in Westminster, Iris stated that “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children”. Iris claimed she was "misrepresented", however Hansard staff reported this to be a statement of fact.

In October 2008, Peter Robinson MP, the First Minister of Northern Ireland backed his wife's claims stating "It wasn't Iris Robinson who determined that homosexuality was an abomination, it was The Almighty. This is the Scriptures and it is a strange world indeed where somebody on the one hand talks about equality, but won’t allow Christians to have the equality, the right to speak, the right to express their views".

By January 2009, the Police Service of Northern Ireland advised that it was forwarding a case against Mrs Robinson to the Public Prosection Service. It is alleged that she twice contravened Article 9 of the Public Order Act 1987 by using threatening, abusive or insulting words which have the likelihood to stir up hatred and arouse fear.

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List of Democratic Unionist Party MPs

This is a list of Democratic Unionist Party MPs. It includes all Members of Parliament elected to the British House of Commons representing the Democratic Unionist Party. Members of the European Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly are not listed.

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Northern Ireland Assembly

Northern Ireland outline in blue.svg

The Northern Ireland Assembly (Irish: Tionól Thuaisceart Éireann, Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann Semmlie) is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive. It sits at Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast.

The latest incarnation of the Assembly was established under the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, an accord aimed at bringing an end to Northern Ireland's violent 30-year Troubles. It is based on the principle of power-sharing under the D'Hondt method to ensure that Northern Ireland's largest political communities, the unionist and nationalist communities both participate in governing the region. The Assembly is a unicameral, democratically elected body comprising 108 members who are known as Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs. Members are elected under the single transferable vote form of proportional representation.

The Assembly has been suspended on several occasions, the longest suspension being from 14 October 2002 until 7 May 2007, a period of over four and a half years. When the Assembly was suspended, its powers reverted to the Northern Ireland Office. Following talks that resulted in the St Andrews Agreement being accepted in November 2006, an election to the Assembly was held on 7 March 2007 and full power was restored to the devolved institutions on 8 May 2007.

From 7 June 1921 until 30 March 1972, the devolved legislature for Northern Ireland was the Parliament of Northern Ireland. That Parliament consistently chose the Ulster Unionist Party to govern the region. The Parliament was suspended on 30 March 1972 and formally abolished in 1973 under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.

Shortly after this first parliament was abolished, attempts began to restore devolution on a new basis that would see power shared between nationalists and unionists. To this end a new parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, was established in 1973. However, this body was brought down by opposition from hard-line unionists and republicans and was abolished in 1974. In 1982 another Northern Ireland Assembly was established at Stormont, initially as a body to scrutinise the actions of the Secretary of State, the British minister with responsibility for Northern Ireland. It received little support from nationalists and was officially dissolved in 1986.

Attempts to secure its operation on a permanent basis have been frustrated by disagreements between the two main unionist parties (the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party) and Sinn Féin, the largest nationalist party, which is widely perceived to be the connected to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Unionists refused to participate in the Good Friday Agreement's institutions alongside Sinn Féin until they were assured that the IRA had discontinued its activities, decommissioned its arms and disbanded.

The most recent suspension occurred after unionists withdrew from the Northern Ireland Executive after Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont were raided by the police investigating alleged intelligence gathering on behalf of the IRA by members of the party's support staff. The Assembly, already suspended, dissolved on 28 April 2003 as scheduled, but the elections due the following month were postponed by the United Kingdom government and were not held until November that year.

On 8 December 2005, three Belfast men at the centre of the alleged IRA spying incident (dubbed Stormontgate) were acquitted of all charges. The prosecution offered no evidence "in the public interest." Afterwards Denis Donaldson, one of those arrested, said that the "charges should never have been brought" as the police action was "political." On 17 December 2005, Donaldson publicly confirmed that he had been a spy for British intelligence since the early 1980s. Mr Donaldson was killed on 4 April 2006.

Although the Assembly remained suspended from 2002 until 2007, the persons elected to it at the 2003 Assembly election were called together on 15 May 2006 under the Northern Ireland Act 2006 to meet in an assembly to be known as "the Assembly" (or fully "the Assembly established under the Northern Ireland Act 2006") for the purpose of electing a First Minister and Deputy First Minister and choosing the members of an Executive before 25 November 2006 as a preliminary to the restoration of devolved government.

On 23 May 2006 Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refused Sinn Féin's nomination to be First Minister alongside Sinn Féin's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, as Deputy First Minister. Eileen Bell was appointed by the Secretary of State Peter Hain to be the Speaker of the Assembly, with Francie Molloy and Jim Wells acting as deputies. The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 repealed the Northern Ireland Act 2006 and thus disbanded "the Assembly".

The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 provided for a "Transitional Assembly" (or fully "the Transitional Assembly established under the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006") to take part in preparations for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. A person who was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly was also a member of the Transitional Assembly. Eileen Bell was Speaker of the Transitional Assembly and Francie Molloy and Jim Wells continued as deputies. The Transitional Assembly first met on 24 November 2006, when the proceedings were suspended due to a bomb threat by loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone. It was dissolved on 30 January 2007 when the election campaign for the current Northern Ireland Assembly started.

An election to the then-suspended Northern Ireland Assembly was held on 7 March 2007. Secretary of State, Peter Hain signed a restoration order on 25 March 2007 allowing for the restoration of devolution at midnight on the following day. The two largest parties following the election, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, agreed to enter power-sharing government together, and an administration was eventually established on 8 May with Ian Paisley as First Minister and Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.

Each MLA is free to designate themselves as "nationalist", "unionist" or "other" as they see fit, the only requirement being that no member may change their designation more than once during an Assembly session. The system has been criticised by some, in particular the cross-community Alliance Party, as entrenching sectarian divisions. The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland supports ending the official designation of identity requirement and the taking of important votes on the basis of an ordinary super-majority.

The Assembly has both legislative powers and responsibility for electing the Northern Ireland Executive. The First and Deputy First Ministers were initially elected on a cross-community vote, although this was changed in 2006 and they are now appointed as leaders of the largest and second largest Assembly 'bloc' (understood to mean 'Unionist', 'Nationalist' and 'Other'). However the remaining ministers are not elected but rather chosen by the nominating officers of each party, each party being entitled to a share of ministerial positions roughly proportionate to its share of seats in the Assembly. The Assembly has authority to legislate in a field of competences known as "transferred matters". These matters are not explicitly enumerated in the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Rather they include any competence not explicitly retained by the Parliament at Westminster.

Powers reserved by Westminster are divided into "excepted matters", which it retains indefinitely, and "reserved matters", which may be transferred to the competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly at a future date. An incomplete list of "transferred", "reserved" and "excepted" matters is given below. While the Assembly was in suspension, its legislative powers were exercised by the UK government, which effectively has power to legislate by decree. Laws that would have normally been within the competence of the Assembly were passed by the UK government in the form of Orders-in-Council rather than legislative acts.

Although the British monarch is not formally a component of the Assembly (as is the case at Westminster), all bills passed by the Assembly must receive Royal Assent to become law. This is not a mere formality. If the Secretary of State believes that a bill violates the constitutional limitations on the powers of the Assembly, the Secretary of State will refuse to submit the bill to the monarch for Assent. If submitted by the Secretary of State, the monarch will, by convention, sign a bill into law. Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly begin with the enacting formula: "Be it enacted by being passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly and assented to by Her Majesty as follows:".

The Assembly is chaired by the Speaker and three Deputy Speakers. Lord Alderdice served as the first regular Speaker of the Assembly, but retired to serve as part of the current Independent Monitoring Commission that supervises paramilitary ceasefires. The position is currently filled by William Hay. In the Assembly the Speaker and ten other members constitute a quorum. The Assembly Commission is the body corporate of the Assembly. It ensures that the Assembly has the property, staff and services it needs to carry out its work. Legal proceedings taken for or against the Assembly are taken for or against the Commission on behalf of the Assembly. The staff of the Assembly are collectively known as the Assembly Secretariat.

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List of Democratic Unionist Party MPs 2005-

This is a list of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the House of Commons for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for the Fifty-Fourth Parliament of the United Kingdom (2005 to present).

It includes both MPs elected at the 2005 general election, held on 5 May 2005, and those subsequently elected in by-elections.

The list is sorted by the name of the MP, and MPs who did not serve throughout the Parliament are italicised. New MPs elected since the general election are noted at the bottom of the page.

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Arabic Democratic Unionist Party

The Arabic Democratic Unionist Party (Arabic: حزب الاتحاد العربي الديمقراطي‎ - Hizb al-ittiHad al-'arabi ad-dimuqraTi)) is a political party in Syria. It is part of the National Progressive Front of legally licenced parties which support the socialist and Arab nationalist orientation of the government and accept the leadership of the Ba'th Party. In the 22 April 2007 People's Council of Syria election the party was awarded 1 out of 250 seats in the parliament.

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Source : Wikipedia