Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Criticism Builds as Theresa May Prepares to Form New Government

Criticism Builds as Theresa May Prepares to Form New Government

Even with a deal nearing to secure her government's survival, May is so weakened that her Brexit strategy has become the subject of public debate inside her own party, with two former prime ministers urging her to soften her approach.

"Deal between DUP and government could be delayed until next week because of the aftermath of #grenfelltower and diary commitments of both leaders".

May does not necessarily need a firm deal from the DUP before opening parliament and might hope that she would receive the necessary backing anyway. However, sources close to the talks said that while the discussions were "stuttering", 95% had been agreed between both sides, meaning the deal could still be announced in time to allow the Queens's speech on Monday. "An agreement to restore devolved power-sharing government in Stormont must be reached by the June 29 deadline", he said.

Although elections for the assembly took place in a March, it can only meet if the two leading parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the pro-republican Sinn Fein, agree to work together by appointing a first minister and deputy first minister.

Though on the surface, Thursday's meeting with Northern Irish parties is aimed at breaking the logjam in forming a new cross-party regional government in the province, May needs broader acceptance of a Conservative-DUP deal.

Brexit minister David Davis has insisted the approach to the European Union divorce has not changed, but May has recognized 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.

But with so much at stake for Britain and its $2.5 trillion economy, pressure was mounting on May from within and without her party to heed other voices.

'I think there will be pressure for a softer Brexit, ' added Cameron who quit previous year after Britons voted to leave the European Union, against his advice, in a referendum that he had called.

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, is preparing to fight for the United Kingdom to remain within the EU's customs union which could safeguard jobs and trade with EU members but would severely restrict the UK's ability to strike its own trade deals around the world.

On a visit to Paris on Tuesday evening where she met with French President Emmanuel Macron, May described the talks as "productive".

Mrs May stressed that Brexit would happen and the timetable remains on course.

"It's a unity of objective, having voted to leave the European Union, that their government gets on with that and makes a success of it".

The listing of four policy areas where the parties are in agreement suggests a final deal may go further than a basic confidence and supply arrangement, which would see the DUP guarantee its support only on financial measures and no-confidence votes.

Mr Verhofstadt urged the European Union to bring forward legislative proposals for closer integration of the remaining 27 member states, to take advantage of the opportunity provided by Brexit and the election of the pro-European Mr Macron.

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