DUP says talks with Theresa May to prop up minority Tory government set for 'successful conclusion soon'

Downing Street sources also told The Independent that talks with the DUP were ‘ongoing’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 13 June 2017 15:48
DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives at Downing Street for talks with the Prime Minister
DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives at Downing Street for talks with the Prime Minister

Theresa May’s talks to prop up her Government with Northern Ireland unionists are set for a “successful conclusion soon”, according to the DUP leader.

It comes after the Prime Minister met with the DUP chief Arlene Foster in Downing Street to discuss a “supply and confidence” arrangement between the two parties following the general election last week.

Ms Foster said on Twitter: “Discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion.” Downing Street sources also told The Independent that talks were “ongoing”.

Ms May, however, left for the Commons before heading to Paris later on Tuesday without answering reporters questions about how negotiations were progressing.

Such an arrangement would see the socially conservative Northern Irish party back the Government to get its Budget through and on confidence motions in order to prevent the new minority government from collapsing.

A failure to reach an agreement with the DUP could risk the new administration losing a crucial vote on the Queen’s speech next week – a position Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is pushing for.

But it comes after John Major, the former Conservative Prime Minister, urged the Prime Minister to be cautious of such a deal with the DUP, warning it risked a return of the violence in Northern Ireland. In a dramatic intervention, the former Tory leader said the peace process is “fragile” and could collapse if the British government is no longer seen as “impartial”.

“People shouldn’t regard it as a given. It’s not certain, it’s under stress, it’s fragile,” Sir John added.

And he highlighted the danger of “hard men still there, lurking in the corners of communities deciding they wish to return to some sort of violence”.

“We need to do everything we conceivably can to ensure that doesn’t happen – and that does require an impartial British government,” Sir John said.

While peace in Northern Ireland was not in danger of collapsing imminently, it could “unwind”. “That does worry me a great deal about the peace process,” he told BBC Radio 4.

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