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etvfutures.com June 23, 2017


'Significant progress' in Theresa May's talks with the DUP

19 June 2017, 03:07 | Opal Carroll

British Prime Minister Theresa May said talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist party aimed at securing their support for her minority government were continuing but that a fire in London had taken priority on Wednesday.

And a Downing Street source said the talks had been "constructive".

The outgoing speaker, John Bercow, was re-elected unopposed by the MPs, prompting May to raise laughter when she said: "At least someone got a landslide".

Later, a Downing Street spokesperson said: "In the first Cabinet meeting since the election, ministers discussed the forthcoming Queen's Speech, including the legislative program required to deliver the best possible Brexit deal for the whole United Kingdom".

There are suggestions the DUP could demand additional funding for Northern Ireland projects for its support.

Under the confidence and supply arrangement being mooted by the Tories and the DUP, the Northern Irish party's 10 MPs would lend its support to the Government for key votes - such as passing the Budget and the Queen's Speech.

DUP leader Arlene Foster says she's had "very good" discussions with the British Prime Minister, and she hopes to reach a conclusion sooner rather than later.

The unionists have struggled for years with Irish Catholic nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join a united Ireland.

Former Prime Minister John Major earlier warned that a Conservative-DUP deal could create the perception that London was no longer an honest broker of the peace settlement in Northern Ireland.

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He told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "The last thing anybody wishes to see is one or other of the communities so aggrieved that the hardmen, who are still there lurking in the corners of the communities, decide that they wish to return to some form of violence". "And that worries me a great deal about the peace process".

"Well that might be a positive effect, I think we should be grown up about this", he said.

On a visit to Paris on Tuesday evening where she met with French President Emmanuel Macron, May described the talks as "productive".

May made clear the Brexit negotiations would begin next despite uncertainty.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, which saw its number seats and share of the vote increase, said there could be another election this year or early in 2018 after last Thursday's vote produced no clear victor.

While the DUP are deeply eurosceptic, they have baulked at the potential loss of a "frictionless border" with the Republic of Ireland.

Ms May surprised Westminster on Tuesday by appointing Steve Baker, a leading backbench advocate of a hard Brexit, as a minister in the department for exiting the EU.

British officials held "talks about talks" with the European Union's Brexit man in Brussels but actual negotiations, scheduled to start in a week's time, might be delayed by political upheaval in London.

The veteran conservative predicted that Britain would regret its departure from the bloc at some point in the future.



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