Northern Ireland’s DUP Secures 8 Seats, Eyes UK Balance of Power

Democratic Unionist Party leader Peter Robinson speaks at the party's policy conference in the village of Templepatrick twenty miles north of Belfast
Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Northern Ireland‘s Democratic Unionist Party retained eight seats in Britain’s parliament on Friday and said they would consider supporting a minority Conservative government in exchange for a package of financial and political concessions.

An exit poll gave the Conservatives 316 of 650 seats in the lower house, seven short of the 323 analysts say are needed for a working majority, leaving the British nationalist DUP as a contender to hold the balance of power.

“We have a unique opportunity in the House of Commons to have an influence for good in Northern Ireland,” former Northern Ireland finance minister Sammy Wilson told supporters after retaining his Antrim East seat for the DUP.

“They are going to have to recognise that Northern Ireland has special interests, special needs, and those will have to be addressed,” he said.

The Conservatives may well try and rule alone if they get close to an overall majority and polling experts are not ruling out them winning more than half the parliamentary seats.

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