Still unclear on the political situation across the water? Gavin Hyland tells all you need to know.
Politics is often confusing but even the most politically aware would struggle with the current political situation in the UK.
The results of the last general election were awful for Theresa May and her Conservative party as they lost their majority and now need to rely on the DUP to form a government.
Who Are the DUP?
The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) are the largest party in Northern Ireland and as the name suggests, are loyal to the union of the United Kingdom. The DUP share power in Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin.
Currently, there is no Assembly in Northern Ireland after elections were held on 2nd of March this year. Sinn Féin want DUP leader Arlene Foster to step down as leader of the party before they agree to re-enter power sharing in Stormont.
Foster, who seemed on the brink of resignation is now safe in her job as Theresa May is relying on her and the DUP to form a government.
The UK Elections
The results of the election in the UK saw the Conservatives win 318 seats, which was the most of any party but still far short of the majority. However, the DUP won 10 seats and combined, they will have enough seats to form a government.
Theresa May has met with the DUP to discuss a deal to ensure their support. Concerns have been raised about the British government’s ability to be a neutral guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement if they are relying on the DUP to stay in government.
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin won 7 seats in the UK elections but the party does not take their seats because to do so is to swear loyalty to the crown. Sinn Féin believe in a united Ireland and therefore abstain from participation in the UK Parliament.
If Sinn Féin did take their seats, the DUP and Conservatives would not have enough seats to form a government.
Where we stand
As a result of all this, we are left in an unprecedented political situation in Britain and Northern Ireland. Almost four months since the election in Northern Ireland, there is still no agreement. If no agreement comes, then Northern Ireland returns to direct rule from Westminster, where the DUP forms part of the government.
The UK are about to enter Brexit negotiations with the Conservatives, needing the support of the DUP to pass anything through parliament. That is all conditional on the UK government surviving that long or Theresa May remaining as leader of the Conservative party.