DUP head: Talks with UK Conservatives going well

Posted June 27, 2017

Theresa May and the Conservative Party appear close to a deal with with the Democratic Unionist Party about forming a government in the United Kingdom, with the official date for the start of Brexit negotiations rapidly approaching.

Adding to these concerns is a statement from the Portadown branch of the anti-Catholic Orange Order asking the DUP to use its new influence to get permission to conduct a banned march through a predominantly pro-Catholic neighbourhood, and comments from Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny stating that a deal with the party may undermine the Northern Irish peace process.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is in for a hard Tuesday (June 13) as she is due to hold talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to secure an informal alliance before meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has hit back at claims her party's policy on gay rights are homophobic, calling the accusation "complete and utter nonsense".

"I don't detect any great appetite amongst my colleagues for presenting the public with a massive additional dose of uncertainty by getting involved in a self-indulgent Conservative Party internal election campaign.", Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, told BBC TV.

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Despite her party losing its majority in the election, the prime minister has managed to hold onto the reigns of power for the moment.

But unlike the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010, where the parties agreed on a full legislative agenda with representatives from both in ministerial offices across government, the deal between the Tories and the DUP is more likely to be a so-called "confidence and supply agreement".

Foster tweeted afterward that "discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion".

Her most senior minister Damian Green has confirmed the Queen's Speech setting out the Government's programme could be delayed if a deal is not reached in time for it to go ahead on Monday as planned.

Theresa May is seeking agreement with 10 Democratic Unionist MPs after losing her majority in the general election.

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"I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out", Theresa May told Conservative MPs in Westminster.

In an article in the Belfast Telegraph, Foster listed three priorities, including getting Northern Ireland's devolved power-sharing government at Stormont working again.

She looked at her watch.

Asked about Schaeuble's comments, Macron said the EU's door was still open for Britain as long as the negotiations were not finished, but that it would be hard to reverse course.

If May now sends a team to Brussels - ideally on schedule on Monday - that shows willing on the EU's priority "Phase One" issues, then trade talks could get under way by the turn of the year - a step-by-step timetable Barnier says must be followed to limit the risk of a disruptive "no deal".

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As well as meeting with DUP leader Arlene Foster, May is also set to travel to Paris later Tuesday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss how to tackle online extremism. "The union as I've said before is our guiding star", she said.