Brexit talks left hanging as May tries to form alliance

15 Juin, 2017, 03:22 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Brexit talks left hanging as May tries to form alliance

Cabinet ministers have discussed plans for a deal with the DUP ahead of critical talks between Theresa May and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster.

British Prime Minister Theresa May began talks on Tuesday to form an alliance with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative DUP party in order to cling to power after her election fiasco, leaving the EU's Brexit negotiator wondering when divorce talks will begin.

On Tuesday, DUP leader Arlene Foster said a deal would happen sooner rather than later.

"Yesterday Emmanuel Macron, the new French president, spoke about an open door, he said if Britain is changing its mind it will find an open door", Verhofstadt told the European Parliament.

One of the most pressing issues facing Mrs May is the process of leaving the European Union, with Brexit talks set to start in Brussels on Monday.

May has dismissed calls to resign following the dismal election result after calling a vote three years early in the hope of bolstering her slim majority, only to actually lose seats.

The Prime Minister needs the votes of the 10 DUP MPs to prop up her minority administration as she hopes to steer government business - including crucial measures on Brexit - through the Commons.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey raised concerns over the prospect of a "very risky deal" between the DUP and the Tory Party, saying Labour was "ready and waiting to form a minority government".

During his time in office, Major helped to start the process that eventually led to the end of violence and a finely balanced local assembly in Belfast - where power is shared between the mainly Protestant unionist community, which celebrates its British heritage, and the mainly Catholic nationalist community, which identifies as Irish.

A conclusion on the deal was expected on Wednesday, but the decision may now be delayed to next week, after the DUP said it would be inappropriate to conclude talks and announce a deal on the same day as a fire consumed a tower block in west London, killing 12 people.

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While the DUP are deeply euroskeptic, they have balked at some of the practical implications of a so-call 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.

The Irish republican Sinn Fein party - which won seven seats in the election, although their MPs traditionally do not take up their seats in protest - is also wary of the alliance.

"This new arrangement is very unsettling and people are concerned and anxious about what it may mean, or what promises may be given. There's a lot of anxiety", Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP. Brexit negotiations that were scheduled to begin next week was also likely to be postponed.

"It's passing quicker than anyone believes..."

"But let us be clear and organised and once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it'll be more hard to move backwards". "I can't negotiate with myself".

This would put Britain in a very feeble position for its Brexit negotiation with the European Union.

He said: "We are impatiently waiting for the negotiating position of the United Kingdom gov (ernment). The current uncertainty can not continue", he said on Twitter.

Senior UK government ministers held secret talks with rival Labour members of parliament to secure bipartisan support for a soft Brexit, British broadsheet "The Daily Telegraph" revealed on Tuesday.

There have also been discussions of a cross-party Brexit Commission to agree common ground between the parties and ensure an orderly withdrawal from the EU.

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