Theresa May reportedly told backbenchers that government policy wouldn’t be affected by the DUP’s views on ‘LGB… what’s the rest of it?’.
The Prime Minister was meeting the 1922 Committee of backbenchers today amid controversy over the government’s discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party of Ulster.
A Tory MP is said to have told HuffPo editor Paul Waugh that the PM had made the apparently flippant comment about LGBT concerns in the meeting today.
The DUP is now infamous across the UK for its extremely conservative, right-wing views.
Schoolboy 'threatened to stab girl who refused to sext him'
Among other things, the party is against same-sex marriage, is anti-abortion, and believes creationism should be taught in schools.
May is said to have already promised Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay as well as being socially liberal, that gay rights would be safe even if the government agreed a ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the Northern Irish party.
A ‘confidence and supply’ deal would involve agreeing for the DUP to vote in favour of government policy in Parliament. Such a deal would be necessary for May to pass any policies, as the Tories ended up eight seats short of an overall majority in last Thursday’s general election.
Nick Clegg isn't going to become a Lord because 'ermine isn't his thing'
However, there are claims the Scottish Tories could form their own semi-independent group – with its own whip – meaning they wouldn’t be required to vote with May and the government.
Despite this, it seems the 1922 Committee gave May its full confidence after being reassured that the DUP wouldn’t have power of veto over bills passing through parliament.
Michael Gove then left the meeting with a thumbs up.
Who are the Democratic Unionist Party?
The Democratic Unionist Party is the biggest unionist party in Northern Ireland – that is, it is against Ulster becoming part of the Republic of Ireland.
They’ve effectively just replaced the Ulster Unionists (UUP) – but the two parties are anything but the same.
While the UUP is a relatively harmless centre-right party that has had a long-running relationship with the Tories, the DUP is far more conservative, particularly when it comes to social issues.
Here’s what you need to know about the Northern Irish party that is now within throwing distance of Westminster.
LINKS TO TERRORISM
Disturbingly, the party has strong historical links to Loyalist paramilitary groups – in particular the terrorist group Ulster Resistance, which was founded by people who ended up becoming prominent DUP politicians. The party’s former leader Peter Robinson, for example, was an active member of the terror group.
The group also collaborated with other terror groups, including the Ulster Volunteer Force, to smuggle deadly arms into the UK.
Although the party has since rescinded violence, this may seem a bit of a rich move from a party that attacked Jeremy Corbyn for his alleged links to former Northern Irish terrorists.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS – OR A LACK OF THEM
The DUP is notorious for being strongly opposed to reproductive choice – specifically a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This makes them the biggest anti-abortion party in the country.
This is why women in Northern Ireland either face a costly and incredibly stressful journey to England and Scotland to have an abortion, or are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
The DUP are also known for strongly opposing same sex marriage. As a result, Northern Ireland still doesn’t have equal marriage – unlike all of its neighbours Scotland, England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM
Last year, DUP MP Sammy Wilson was accused of racism after a member of the public said Northern Ireland should ‘get the ethnics out’ – to which he appeared to reply ‘you are absolutely right’.
The DUP is also infamous for pushing for creationism to be taught in schools on a par with proven scientific facts. Creationsim is the evangelical belief that Darwin’s theory of evolution is incorrect, and that humans were created whole in God’s image.
The party is pro-Brexit and backed the Leave campaign before the EU referendum last year.