Motorists and the DUP

What would being partly governed by the Democratic Unionist Party mean for UK drivers?

Turn to any motoring publication and you’ll find a pre-election article about what each political party has in mind for motorists.

Few, if any, foresaw the rise of the Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP, so while the Conservatives, Labour, UKIP and the Green Party have been covered in these summary pieces, the DUP are - more often than not - noticeably absent.

We’ll redress that omission here, looking at what motoring is like in Northern Ireland, and also what plans the DUP has for transport. It’s worth noting that there’s no confirmation any of its views on transport will be implemented nationally.

Driving in Northern Ireland

The roads in Northern Ireland will be very familiar to English motorists. Vehicles are driven on the left, seatbelts are mandatory and using a mobile phones behind the wheel is banned. Motorways are prefixed with the letter ‘M’, major roads get an ‘A’ and minor ones a ‘B’.

Drivers in Northern Ireland do face one fairly significant difference, though: after passing their test, new drivers must display an ‘R’ – short for ‘restricted’ – plate for the first 12 months, and are not allowed to exceed 45mph – even on motorways.

There have, however, been regular calls for this rule to be changed; some feel it’s too low and inherently dangerous as a result (and it also causes tailbacks) while others claim R drivers regularly exceed 45mph, and do not have sufficient training to do so. Given these factors, it’s unlikely ‘R’ plates will make their way to English shores.

The DUP and transport

First, some context: the DUP is a centre-right to right-wing political organisation, and is currently the largest party in Northern Ireland – but only just. Out of the 90 seats in the Northern Irish Assembly, the DUP holds 28. Sinn Fein is just behind, with 27 seats.

Turning to the House of Commons, the DUP has 10 of the 18 Northern Irish seats, from a total of 650 seats.

Whatever form of power-sharing agreement – be it a coalition or a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement – is agreed, the DUP’s influence could be larger than those numbers suggest.

So what plans does the DUP have for motorists, and transport on the whole? Well, back in October 2000 the party was behind a policy that saw public transport made free for the over 60s, and it also launched a review into the issue of the salting of roads across Northern Ireland.

Speaking to Carbuyer, a DUP spokesman said the party was against increasing fuel duty, as well as air passenger duty, subjects about which the party had previously “raised concerns”. The DUP also supports expansion at Heathrow.

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
i20
Deals
9 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

UK road tax rules for 2021 explained
2021 Road Tax explained
Tips and advice
8 Apr 2021

UK road tax rules for 2021 explained

Best eight-seater cars
CB Best eight-seaters header
Tips and advice
1 Apr 2021

Best eight-seater cars

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Tips and advice
28 Dec 2020

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks