A leading member of the DUP has confirmed the party will be prepared to work with Labour or the Conservative party after next month's Westminster elections.
Nigel Dodds said an inconclusive election result would leave the DUP in a position to assess which administration would provide the better option for Northern Ireland.
The DUP currently holds wight of the 18 Northern Ireland Westminster seats, and in next month's elections it is expected to retain its position as the North's strongest party.
It is hoping that an inconclusive result would leave it in a position to haggle with both Labour and the Conservatives over the best possible deal for Northern Ireland.
Mr Dodds said: "We think it's important for Northern Ireland that we have the maximum possible leverage in the next parliament in which there's not likely to be any majority Government," he said.
"The DUP with anywhere between 8 to 10 seats could prove absolutely pivotal.
"We are not in the pocket of either the Labour party or the Conservative party in London, we have worked with both parties in the past, we can work with either parties in the future and what we will judge is what is the best deal for Northern Ireland," Mr Dodds said.