Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

UK PM Thersa May and DUP have largely agreed support deal


May desperately needs the Democratic Unionist Party's 10 seats to pass legislation.

But a deal with the DUP risks destabilizing the political balance in Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists who have struggled for years with Irish Catholic nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join a united Ireland.

Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds entered Downing Street at around 12:40 p.m. (1140 GMT, 7:40 a.m. EDT).

Sky Sources say that "significant progress" has been made today, while Mrs Foster tweeted to say she hopes to bring a successful conclusion soon.

Soon after the meeting, May set off to the House of Commons where MPs were reconvening for the first time after the June 8 general election and overwhelmingly re-elected John Bercow as the Speaker of the House.

He joked that he welcomed the prospect of a Queen's Speech once this "coalition of chaos has been negotiated", but said if this did not happen, he was "ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest".

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn congratulated May on "returning as PM" and said he "looked forward to this parliament, however short it may be", in reference to her weakened support base as the head of a minority government.

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

"I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out", she told her Conservative MPs.

The Daily Telegraph reported cabinet ministers have opened back-channel talks to senior Labour lawmakers to secure a cross-party agreement on Brexit.

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.

"Bringing stability to the United Kingdom government in and around issues around Brexit, obviously around counter-terrorism, and then doing what's right for Northern Ireland in respect of economic matters".

Even the idea of an alliance is complicated, however.

May now stands accused of throwing the peace process into jeopardy by forming an alliance with the DUP at a time when London and Dublin are supposed to be neutral in finding a way to break the impasse of the forming of a Northern Ireland Executive.

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.

He said he was "concerned" about the deal between the two parties, and saying he was "wary" and "dubious" about it "both for peace process reasons but also for others reasons as well".

The stakes for May are high.

A Downing Street source said the talks had been "constructive" but refused to put a timescale on when they would conclude.

William Hague, a former leader of the Conservative Party, called for business groups and lawmakers from all parties to be brought in to agree a national position on Brexit.

European Union leaders have given chief Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier no authority to so much as talk about future trade with Britain until he clinches outline deals on Brussels' priority issues, including London's exit bill.

There is frustration among European Union leaders and officials that three months have already passed since May triggered Article 50, the device which started the Brexit process.

"My preoccupation is that time is passing - it's passing quicker than anyone believes - because the subjects we need to deal with are extraordinarily complex from a technical, judicial and financial point of view".

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