Bob Seely - MP for the Isle of Wight - has issued the following statement in respect of the Conservatives' current discussions with the DUP:
"Over the past 48 hours, I have received contact from several Island constituents concerned about a possible agreement between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). These concerns have principally been focused around the DUP’s stance on various social issues.
"I disagree with many of the DUP’s views on social policy. Any arrangement between the Conservatives and DUP would neither affect my view nor voting position on these matters – any more than a formal coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010 did not affect the views of many Conservative MPs on issues such as Europe. Furthermore, it is evident from past proposals put forward by the DUP (when a hung parliament was considered likely in 2015) that social policy issues are not their priorities for such negotiations.
"The UK needs a stable government which can provide leadership to our country at this crucial time, with Brexit negotiations about to start. Only the Conservatives are likely to have the numerical strength in the House of Commons to lead such a government, and I support the efforts being made to reach a workable arrangement. In many respects this is no different to the consideration given by Labour in 2010 regarding the possibility of securing support from the DUP.
"My principal caution about any arrangement with the DUP is whether this could undermine the efforts of the UK Government to re-establish a power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland. It is vital for the stability of the province that its devolved government is reactivated as swiftly as possible, and also so Northern Irish residents have the leadership to represent their interests on issues such as cross-border policy. I am keen to receive reassurances that any arrangement in the Commons with the DUP would not compromise the UK Government’s role in negotiating with both major political parties in Northern Ireland.
"Any interface with political parties in Northern Ireland – be it the Conservatives with the DUP or Labour with Sinn Fein – needs to be carefully managed in order that stability is maintained and effective devolved government is restored. This is a far bigger priority than any disagreement on social policy which will not have any impact on existing legislation in Great Britain."