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

DUP head: Talks with UK Conservatives going well


But May faces a hard balancing act: Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party membership support a sharp break with the EU.

Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), met May for talks in Downing Street on Tuesday but Sky News reported she had returned to Belfast on Wednesday evening, leaving party colleagues to continue the negotiations.

Demanding a swift start to Brexit negotiations under Article 50 of the European Union treaties, the former Belgian prime minister compared Britain's position to the heroine of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, who found herself in a room with many doors and no idea what lay behind them.

Britain said on Friday that no deal could be struck on exiting the European Union unless the future relationship with the bloc was taken into account.

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

Otunuga said the United Kingdom remains in a vulnerable position with regards to Brexit talks.

Theresa May's failure to win a majority at the General Election has led to suggestions her Brexit plan to leave the EU's Single Market and Customs Union could be altered, while rival parties have demanded involvement in exit talks following the inconclusive result.

Foster will nearly certainly ask for greater investment in Northern Ireland as part of the deal, as well as guarantees on support for pension plans and for winter fuel allowances for older people.

The prime minister, he said, has also "just totally ignored the will of the people of Northern Ireland in terms of Brexit", he added.

Even the idea of an alliance is complicated, however.

Sinn Fein, which won seven seats in the British parliament last week but does not take up its seats or vote in Westminster, would likely reject a deal to form a government by refusing to work with the DUP in Northern Ireland.

"I will be making it very clear that any deal between the Tories and the DUP can not be allowed to undermine the Good Friday and subsequent agreements".

The stakes for May are high.

Sir John, who was crucial in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, raised concerns about the impact of a Tory deal with the DUP.

To make things worse, the main opposition party Labour entered the election holding only 229 seats and came out with 262, raising the chances of its leader Jeremy Corbyn to succeed May as the next premier.

"If that's not possible, the Labour Party stands ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest".

Brexit Secretary David Davis will meet with the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier at 11am local time in Brussels on Monday to begin more than seven hours of official talks.

"Next week, it will be three months after the sending of the Article 50 letter", Mr Barnier said, referencing the UK's formal withdrawal notification letter.

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