May starts DUP talks in bid to keep power

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 15, 2017

An initial round of talks between May and DUP leader Arlene Foster ended with no agreement on Tuesday, although both sides said they were hopeful, with talks to resume Wednesday.

Mrs Foster is close to striking a deal with Theresa May after the Tories failed to win an overall majority in last week's General Election.

The rare and strongly-worded intervention by the former prime minister, who also called for a more collegiate approach to Brexit, will be deeply unsettling for May, who is holding talks at Downing Street with the DUP leader, Arlene Foster.

Foster said her party would go into the talks "with the national interest at heart".

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who attended a political cabinet meeting on Monday, said she wanted the economy to be "first and foremost in our minds" in Brexit talks, in a signal that she wants the PM to scale back her focus on her priority of controlling immigration.

"Much of it is complete and utter nonsense, I have to say".

It is thought Mrs Foster, despite being a Brexit supporter, could seek assurances from Mrs May that she will pursue a softer exit from the European Union, given Northern Ireland's 56 per cent Remain vote and the DUP's desire not to see a return to a hard border with Ireland.

She told backbench MPs she was sorry and promised to get "them out of this mess" in a meeting yesterday.

A senior Conservative Party source said the talks were ongoing.

Brexit minister David Davis has insisted the approach to the European Union divorce had not changed, but at the meeting with lawmakers on Monday, May recognised that a broader consensus needed to be built for Brexit and made clear she would listen to all wings of the party on the issue.

"There is a unity of objective among people in the United Kingdom", May said following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Mr Green said talks with the DUP were "going well", adding: "At this very important time, we want to produce a substantial Queen's Speech".

The pageantry-filled ceremony, officially the State Opening of Parliament but more commonly known as the Queen's Speech, is an outline of the government's policy proposal read by Queen Elizabeth II. Writing in the mass-circulation Sun newspaper, Johnson stressed that the Conservatives won more votes than at any time since Margaret Thatcher and are still the largest party in Parliament.

"I am concerned about the deal, I am wary about wary it, I am dubious about it, both for peace process reasons but also for other reasons as well", Major said, warning that if peace unravelled.

"The parliamentary arithmetic is such that we are going to have to work with everyone", he said.

May's failure to get a majority has undercut her tough Brexit strategy, which had raised fears that Britain was heading for a so-called "hard Brexit", which could potentially see tariffs slapped on British exports to the bloc.

There have even been suggestions that such an alliance in the British Parliament could be a violation of the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which stipulates that the United Kingdom must remain impartial in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the chief European Union negotiator has told the Financial Times that the clock is ticking on Brexit talks, and that Britain should be wary of further delays.

But a deal with the DUP would risk destabilising the political balance in Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists who have struggled for years with Irish Catholic nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join a united Ireland.

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