Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

DUP deputy leader says no deadline for talks with Conservatives

Ken Clarke Father of the House Ken Clarke was sworn in just before Theresa May
Howard Terry | 18 June, 2017, 01:09

The Queen has not missed a day at Royal Ascot since her coronation in June 1953, but will be required to lay out the government's legislative agenda for the next five years in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.

Talks with the DUP on a deal to shore up the prime minister's minority administration are "progressing well", a senior Conservative source said.

Originally, the queen was scheduled to open the session on June 19, but Prime Minister Theresa May delayed it, to hold talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland to seek their support to prop up her minority government.

Mrs May was holding talks on Thursday with other Northern Ireland political parties amid warnings the expected DUP deal will undermine the peace process. They were delivering Brexit, securing the Union, combatting terrorism and spreading prosperity throughout the UK.

May's Conservatives need the support of the Protestant DUP's 10 lawmakers to have a majority in parliament, and some have called for the government to take a cross-party approach to Brexit given May's weakened position following the election.

It is expected that a "confidence and supply" arrangement will be agreed, and the DUP is likely to vote with the Conservatives on issues such as the Budget and Brexit in return for policies, such as an increase in funding for the province.

Mrs May wanted the government to "get on with its business". The decision to set a firm deadline is likely to increase pressure on both parties, particularly the DUP, to reach an agreement.

Republican party Sinn Fein have stressed that they will be seeking reassurances over any deal with the unionists.

"Discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion", Foster wrote on Twitter after the meeting.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, also referred to as the Belfast Agreement, requires the United Kingdom and Irish Governments to show "rigorous impartiality" as they deal with the different political groups in Northern Ireland.

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