DUP meet May in London as concern grows about implications for Stormont

Tweet South Down MP Chris Hazzard

The late Martin McGuinness resigned from the Sinn Féin-DUP coalition, triggering the collapse of the regional government under the rules of power-sharing.

May's Conservative Party needs the support of the DUP's 10 MPs in order to retain power in the House of Commons, after losing her majority in last weeks "snap" United Kingdom election.

It is thought that an announcement on an agreement will be delayed as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy - and may not come until next week.

It could also delay the start of Brexit talks.

Popular Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay, told the BBC she had asked Mrs May "for a categoric assurance" that, if any deal were to be sealed with the DUP, there would be "absolutely no rescission" of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the rest of Britain.

May's pursuit of the DUP has raised concerns in the Conservative Party.

"We will oppose any deal which undermines the Good Friday agreement", Sinn Fein's president, Gerry Adams, told reporters outside May's Downing Street residence.

In a statement afterwards, Mrs May said that "good progress" had been made and an agreement was possible if there was "good will on all sides".

What's in the deal?

With the new government set to present its legislative programme to parliament on June 19, the clock is ticking on efforts to bolster the Conservatives' position after they won just 318 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.




The party was originally allowed to do so by then Prime Minister Tony Blair to encourage it into the political process but for the decade it has been the joint ruling party in Northern Ireland.

She added that the British government has taken away £1billion from Northern Ireland.

We know other matters, such as cutting air passenger duty and increased infrastructure spending, have been discussed, but we haven't got any sense of the exact details of the deal.

The DUP has indicated its potential role at Westminster does not change its desire to restore power-sharing, and that it remains ready to form an executive without preconditions.

Sinn Fein has said that if May makes concessions to the DUP that would disadvantage Irish nationalists, then a deal would be more hard to secure.

"There was an update on the on-going talks with the DUP", the Prime Minister's official spokesman said. "Any deal struck must not hinder cross-community confidence in our politics".

"Things have slowed down somewhat, but we're ready and willing - we have a negotiating team there". Devolved government at Stormont, site of the Northern Ireland assembly, broke down in January and has yet to restart.

The Prime Minister held talks with Mrs Foster in Downing Street earlier this week as she seeks to make the best of the election debacle.

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".

A senior Tory source said talks with the DUP would continue on Wednesday.

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