Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Electronics | By Jesus Weaver

London fire could delay Brexit talks

London fire could delay Brexit talks

Major shared his concern as his party's current leader, Prime Minister Theresa May, was working to strike a deal with the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, that would allow the Conservatives to form a government with the support of the Ulster unionists. Instead, she found the opposition Labour Party unexpectedly making a strong second-place showing and national politics thrown into disarray.

At the same time, she was warned that she should not rush ahead with Brexit before she can guarantee that she can get a Queen's Speech through Parliament.

"I'm suggesting that the Conservative Party works with those both within the House of Commons and with people without to ensure that as we leave the European Union, we have a Brexit that works for the economy and puts that first", Davidson told the BBC after a cabinet meeting on Monday.

"What we have not seen over recent days is any concrete or firm shift in the expectations that we've got regarding timescale", he said.

Senior Cabinet ministers are engaged in secret talks with Labour MPs to secure cross-party backing for a soft Brexit, it has emerged.

He told Sky News that the reality of the election result meant that May and her government would need to reach beyond party lines.

Brexit minister David Davis has insisted the approach to the European Union divorce has not changed, but May has recognised that a broader consensus needs to be built for Brexit and has made clear she would listen to all wings of the party on the issue.

Ms May faces the task of satisfying both the pro-European and eurosceptic factions of her party, keeping Northern Ireland calm and negotiating a divorce with 27 other European Union members whose combined economic might is more than five times that of Britain.

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.

Northern Ireland has been without a powersharing executive since March and without a first and deputy first minister since January, after Sinn Fein collapsed the administration amid faltering trust and relations with the DUP.

There have even been suggestions that such an alliance in the British Parliament could be a violation of the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which stipulates that the United Kingdom must remain impartial in Northern Ireland.

Foster's rivals in Northern Ireland, such as Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, have objected, describing any partnership between the Conservatives and the DUP as "a coalition of chaos".

However Lord Trimble, leader of the UUP from September 1995 until May 2005 and one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, said the British government was also "taking a risk".

The stakes for May are high.

May's courting of the DUP for a potential "confidence and supply" relationship around key votes has drawn criticism because of the party's stance on same-sex marriage and abortion.

"We stand at a critical time with those Brexit negotiations starting only next week - I think that stability is important".

May has said the divorce talks, likely to be the most complex in Europe since World War II, will begin as planned next week and her Brexit minister, David Davis, said Britain's negotiating position was unchanged.

He also pointed out that three months after Article 50 had been triggered, formal discussions had yet to start.

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