British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to clinch a deal on Wednesday that would allow her minority government to survive, as European Union leaders voice growing impatience to start Brexit negotiations.
After more than an hour of talks between Mrs May and DUP leader Arlene Foster on Tuesday, Mrs May said the discussion had been productive.
After days of political turmoil sparked by her botched gamble on a snap election, May’s Conservative Party resumed talks with a small Northern Irish Protestant party on securing the support of its 10 members of parliament to pass legislation.
Earlier, Foster said the talks were going well: ‘We hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion’. “I think most of the Scottish Conservatives will want to see perhaps some changes with the policy going forward”.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement commits the United Kingdom and Irish Governments to demonstrate “rigorous impartiality” in their dealings with the different political traditions in Northern Ireland.
The DUP and Sinn Fein are both experts at dragging out negotiations to eke out further concessions to the point that a deadline for a talks process in Northern Ireland is now not taken seriously by the bulk of the population.
LibDem leader Tim Farron said this was because in the last parliament none of the party’s eight MPs were women “and we didn’t feel it was right to elect a deputy in those circumstances”.
The prime minister met leaders of Northern Ireland’s other political parties on Thursday, some of whom had voiced concerns that a tie-up could destabilise local politics and undermine the British government’s neutrality in overseeing separate talks to form a new power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.
On Tuesday May, following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, reiterated her government will get on with Brexit and make a success of it.
Ministers have already said that the Queen’s Speech may have to be set back from its scheduled date of next Monday, June 19, because of the ongoing negotiations.
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.
The Irish republican Sinn Fein party – which won seven seats in the election although MPs traditionally do not take up their seats in protest – is also wary of the alliance.
“This new arrangement is very unsettling and people are concerned and anxious about what it may mean”, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP. “There’s a lot of anxiety”, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP. The so-called “soft border” issue is also one of the top agenda items for Brussels in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. “But let us be clear and organised and once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it’ll be more hard to move backwards”. “I can’t negotiate with myself”, he told the Financial Times newspaper.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the government should put economic growth at the heart of its Brexit strategy, comments placing her in the camp of those advocating a closer trade relationship with the European Union, or “soft” Brexit.
Before the Mansion House dinner was cancelled because of the fire, finance minister Hammond had been due to tackle fears among the financial elite that May’s insistence that “no deal is better than a bad deal” would cost them business.