UK PM Thersa May and DUP have largely agreed support deal

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

The Prime Minister apologised as she faced the backbench 1922 Committee for the first time since a disastrous General Election in which the Tories lost their House of Commons majority.

May will also be reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the Eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

"This new arrangement is very unsettling, and people are concerned and wary of what it may mean, and what promises will be given, or promises extracted from Theresa May", said Michelle Gildernew, a lawmaker for Sinn Fein.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster has tweeted that discussions with British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party are "going well" and that she hopes for a conclusion soon.

But acknowledging the election result that has left her party and her parliament feeling anything but unified she joked, in reaction to Speaker John Bercow's unanimous re-election to his post, that "at least somebody got a landslide".

Corbyn told May that if her "coalition of chaos" with the DUP did not work out, Labour stood ready to provide "strong and stable leadership in the national interest".

The arrival of the DUP's Arlene Foster followed a cabinet meeting, during which ministers went over plans "to deliver the best possible Brexit deal".

"It may not be on the Monday because we also have got the Queen's Speech that week and I will have to speak in that, and so on", he told Sky News.

May faces a hard balancing act: Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, Major and David Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party membership support a sharp break with the EU."The Tory civil war on the EU which has ripped it apart since the Maastricht rebellions of the early 1990s, and which the referendum was supposed to solve, is now raging again", said Chris Grey, an academic who specialises in Brexit at Royal Holloway college in London.

And according to The Daily Telegraph, some of the most senior members of May's team have held "secret talks" with members of the opposition Labour Party to ensure a soft Brexit. On Sunday she brought back into the Cabinet Michael Gove, a Brexit supporter she'd fired a year earlier.

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.

May, who ahead of the June referendum supported remaining in the European Union, has promised to start the formal Brexit talks next week, but opponents of a sharp break with the European Union took her woes as a chance to push back against her strategy.

"A fundamental part of that peace process is that the United Kingdom government needs to be impartial between all the competing interests in Northern Ireland".

However, there are other issues that could be discussed that Sinn Fein would object to, including any change in the treatment of British soldiers accused of crimes during Northern Ireland's conflict, in which 3,600 people were killed. Government bond prices were on track for their heaviest one-day losses since January after consumer price inflation jumped to 2.9 percent in May.As European leaders tried to fathom exactly how Britain would begin the negotiations, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he wanted a Brexit deal that would limit negative consequences for the bloc but nor did it want to weaken Britain.

The stakes for May are high.

"Obviously until we have that we can't agree the final details of the Queen's Speech", said May's deputy Damian Green, referring to a an agreement with the DUP. If that happens, Corbyn will demand a chance to try to form a government by uniting progressive factors in the House of Commons.

A Labour spokesman said that uncertainty over the date of the State Opening showed the Government was "in chaos", while Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said it was "an utter humiliation" for the PM.

With the two-year clock on Brexit ticking away since March, when a letter from May formally started proceedings, Barnier dismissed the suggestion of postponing the negotiations and said such a delay would only prompt further instability.

"Next week, it will be three months after the sending of the Article 50 letter", he said.

"My preoccupation is that time is passing, it is passing quicker than anyone believes because the subjects we have to deal with are extraordinarily complex".

Other reports by VgToday

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