BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC help
news vote 2001search vote 2001
 You are in: Vote2001: Parties
VOTE2001 
Main Issues 
Features 
Crucial Seats 
Key People 
Parties 
Results &  Constituencies 
Candidates 
Opinion Polls 
Online 1000 
Virtual Vote 
Talking Point 
Forum 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 
Voting System 
Local Elections 
Nations 

N Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 

BBC News

BBC Sport

BBC Weather
Monday, 12 March, 2001, 14:49 GMT
Democratic Unionist Party

The Democratic Unionist Party is the second largest unionist party in Northern Ireland.

It draws its support from the Protestant community and is fiercely opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and any moves towards involving the Republic of Ireland in Northern Ireland affairs.

It regards the agreement as nothing short of a threat to Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK.

The DUP campaigned for a "no" vote in the referendum to gauge support for the Good Friday Agreement.

DUP ministers


Ian Paisley has accused the UUP of betraying unionism because its leader David Trimble signed the Agreement

It is engaged in a bitter battle with rival unionist party the Ulster Unionists.

Leader Ian Paisley has accused the UUP of betraying unionism because its leader David Trimble signed the Agreement.

Dr Paisley, who is also the leader of the Free Presbyterian Church, was elected to Westminster in 1970.

At that time he represented the Protestant Unionist Party which was formed in the late 1960s.

In 1971 it was re-created as the Democratic Unionist Party.

DUP leader Reverend Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley's oratory powers are both admired and despised
Then the party announced it would be "right wing in the sense of being strong on the constitution" but "to the left on social policy".

The party is vocally and strongly opposed to Sinn Fein's involvement in the new power-sharing executive.

However there are two DUP ministers on the executive.

They took their seats to prevent them being given to other parties and do not attend cabinet meetings. The seats are currently being rotated through other DUP members as a rolling protest.

The DUP holds 21 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly - including one held by Roger Hutchinson who defected to the party from the Northern Ireland Unionist Party in November 2000.


Unionists will choose whether to endorse and extend David Trimble's contract to deliver concessions to republicans or support those who want to turn the tide

Peter Robinson
The party is defending the Westminster seats held by Mr Paisley in north Antrim, Peter Robinson in east Belfast, and William McCrea in south Antrim.

It is also hoping to do well in the marginal seats of North Belfast and the Ulster Unionist-held seats of east Londonderry and Strangford.

But it has announced it will not contest seats held by anti-Agreement MPs.

'Turn the tide'

Announcing the election strategy in January, deputy leader Mr Robinson said unionists wanted politicians who would "stand up to IRA/Sinn Fein threats".

Ian Paisley standing behind David Trimble
Bitter rivals: Ian Paisley and David Trimble battle within unionism
"They want to halt the endless concessions and repeated [David] Trimble cave-ins," he said.

"This is what the oncoming election will be about.

"Unionists will choose whether they want to endorse and extend David Trimble's contract to deliver concessions to republicans or support those who want to turn the tide."

 A/V CONSOLE
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
PARTY PROFILES

PARTY WEB LINKS



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Related stories:

28 Jan 01 |  Northern Ireland
DUP not contesting anti-accord seats
22 Sep 00 |  Northern Ireland
Poll defeat 'disaster' for UUP
16 Mar 99 |  Profiles
Ian Paisley: Ulster's No man
21 May 98 |  Latest News
Heavyweights clash on TV
08 Jun 00 |  Northern Ireland
Sanctions against DUP ministers
©BBC