Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

DUP head arrives for talks with UK leader May

DUP head arrives for talks with UK leader May

The Conservatives unexpectedly lost their parliamentary majority in last week's general election, which May called in order to strengthen the party's mandate heading into the discussions with European Union leaders.

But then May called a needless election to get a bigger majority in parliament-to "strengthen her hand" in the negotiations with the European Union that are scheduled to begin next Monday, or so she said.

The Conservatives, who have 317 MPs, are looking to strike a deal with the DUP, who have 10.

May is looking for support from the DUP after failing to win a majority for her Conservative Party in last week's elections. That's why we're ready to start very quickly.

"If there are difficulties with the Northern Ireland executive or with any one of a number of things that might well arise during the Brexit negotiations, it's very important that there's an honest broker - and the only honest broker can be the United Kingdom government", Major said.

"I'm the person who got us into this mess and I'm the one who will get us out of it", she said.

Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland, said any deal between the Conservatives and the DUP "cannot be allowed to undermine" the province's peace accords.

"We continue to work with all the parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in ensuring that we can continue to put in place those measures necessary to fulfil those agreements, " she said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, who travelled to Westminster for talks with the Tories on Tuesday, said she hoped a deal could be reached "sooner rather than later".

Barnier held "talks about talks" with May's Brexit advisor Olly Robbins and British EU ambassador Tim Barrow in Brussels on Monday but they failed to agree on a date for the negotiations to begin, an EU official said.

Sinn Fein, SDLP and the cross-community Alliance have all also already made clear that Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire can not chair the ongoing process to restore power-sharing at Stormont due to a perceived conflict of interest caused by the deal.

"Going overseas and being seen to be the prime minister and talking to the president of France, being seen to be wheeler-dealing on the worldwide stage, is a classic move to shore up authority at home", he said.

Northern Ireland voted by a narrow margin to remain in the European Union.

"The DUP may never have the political arithmetic so favourable again so like the Conservatives, the DUP will want to avoid another election and will want to keep drinking in the political free bar that is available to it", Tonge said.

Mr Hammond's comments are likely to be seen as a further indication that he is pressing for the Government to take a "softer" line on Brexit than the immigration-driven approach previously set out by Theresa May.

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