General Election 2017: What were the results in Northern Ireland and why does it matter?

 
Caitlin Morrison
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General Election 2017- Belfast Count and Declaration
DUP leader Arlene Foster would not be drawn on speculation earlier (Source: Getty)

The UK has voted for a hung parliament, meaning Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) could soon become a major player in the next government.

Voters in the region moved away from the centre and opted for more hardline parties in this election, with the DUP gaining two seats, taking it to a total of 10, and Sinn Fein gaining three seats, taking it to seven.

The Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP were both wiped out completely, losing two and three seats respectively.

Northern Ireland's election results can usually fly somewhat under the radar, but not this time.

That's because the Tory party has failed to reach an overall majority, which would have required them to win 326 seats. With counting still underway, the Conservatives have 315, but as there are only a handful of constituencies left to declare, there is no way Theresa May's party will meet the majority threshold.

This points to a possible coalition government between the Conservatives and the DUP - and both parties have reportedly been in close contact over recent weeks.

The two parties would have to reach a deal before going into government together, which could prove interesting for the British public who are not too familiar with the DUP's policies - the party's manifesto website crashed earlier this morning presumably as people tried to learn about this group that could soon become very important to the rest of the UK.

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