'Anxiety and fear' over Tory-DUP deal: Sinn Fein

14 Juin, 2017, 21:11 | Author: Claudine Rigal

May's party fell eight seats short of retaining its parliamentary majority, and is now in talks with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - which won 10 seats - to forge an informal alliance.

She held talks with DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose eurosceptic Northern Irish party has 10 parliamentary seats and could shore up May's minority Conservative government.

"Discussions are going well with the government", Foster said on Twitter. "I hope that we can reach a conclusion sooner than later", Foster said. A spokesman for May's Downing Street office refused to discuss the talks.

However, the prospect of a deal between the two parties has caused disquiet, with the DUP's anti-abortion and gay rights stance in the crosshairs.

They met for over an hour even as former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major opposed any deal with DUP.

"The last thing anybody wishes to see is one or other of the communities so aggrieved that the hard men, who are still there lurking in the corners of the communities, decide that they wish to return to some form of violence", Mr Major told BBC radio. The British government has made clear it does not intend to do so, but the threat is palpable, giving rise to fears that the whole peace process will break down. I am wary about it.

"I will be in London and Dublin over the coming days for talks with both Theresa May and the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar", she said.

While the DUP are deeply eurosceptic, they have balked at some of the practical implications of a so-called hard Brexit - including a potential loss of a "frictionless border" with the Republic of Ireland - and talks will touch on efforts to minimize the potential damage to Northern Ireland.

France's President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that "the door remains open" for the United Kingdom to ditch plans for Brexit and stay in the EU.

At least 22 Conservative MPs were left with majorities of less than 1,000, at the last election.

Although Theresa May insists she won't resign after last week's election omnishambles, the outlook for the Prime Minister remains bleak.

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Prime Minister Theresa May declared the start of two years of Brexit negotiations today (17 January) with a landmark speech setting out the UK's 12 priorities, including leaving the single market, a new negotiation on the EU customs union and a parliament vote on any final deal.

She has promised to start the formal Brexit talks next week but her authority has collapsed since the election result and opponents took her woes as a chance to push back against her Brexit strategy.

He also suggested that the Scottish Tories led by Ruth Davidson could also add to the pressure on Mrs May to change course. The Evening Standard, edited by ex-Treasury chief George Osborne, reported that Cabinet ministers have initiated talks with opposition Labour lawmakers to come up with a "softer", less hard-line divorce from the EU.

He added: "I'm sure we all look forward to welcoming the Queen's Speech just as soon as the coalition of chaos has been negotiated".

May's pursuit of the DUP has raised concerns in the Conservative Party.

With speculation swirling around Parliament about how long she could cling to her job, the prime minister forced a smile to reporters as she entered the showdown with lawmakers in a committee room in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

"The Tory civil war on the European Union 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.

"The door of course is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded", Mr Macron said.

"We all agreed that another general election would be a very bad idea and the prime minister agreed", one senior critic of the PM said. He expected London to remain an important financial center for Europe after Britain had left.

The veteran conservative predicted that Britain would regret its departure from the bloc at some point in the future.

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