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May negotiates minorty govt deal with DUP, urges national unity

16 June 2017

As Britain entered a sixth day of political turmoil, May's team continued talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to secure their support in parliament after May failed to win a majority in Thursday's election.

"The talks are ongoing, they are very positive, they are constructive".

The party is pushing hard for increased investment in the region; a demand that a former Conservative prime minister said could create a headache for May's government.

The Labour leader told the Commons: 'I'm sure we're all looking forward to the Queen's Speech, just as soon as the "coalition of chaos" has been negotiated'.

"Discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion", Foster said in a tweet after meeting May.

Negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union will begin between British and EU officials on Monday, the British government said in a statement.

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The Prime Minister has insisted the United Kingdom will leave the single market, replace customs union membership with a new deal and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

"If the Government cannot even secure a deal with the DUP, how on earth can they get a deal with the EU?"

He said: "We will continue to take the fight to the Tories and I will be out campaigning around the country in Conservative marginals in those extra seats we need to gain to deliver the government for the many that nearly 13 million people voted for last week".

Sir Major told BBC Radio 4's World at One that if the Conservatives "locked" themselves into a deal with one of the main parties in Northern Ireland, there was a danger the government would no longer be seen as an "impartial honest broker" in restoring the power-sharing arrangements and upholding NI institutions.

The Conservative source said the talks to leave the European Union would not be delayed, removing the question mark over the negotiations being derailed by May's lack of a parliamentary majority lost in an election she did not need to call.

May has not yet responded to a proposal from some Conservatives for business groups and lawmakers from all parties to agree a national position on Brexit.

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"I'm the person who got us into this mess and I'm the one who will get us out of it", she said at the closed-door session.

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 an open border with the Republic of Ireland - and talks will touch on efforts to minimise the potential damage to Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the chief European Union negotiator has told the Financial Times that the clock is ticking on Brexit talks, and that Britain should be wary of further delays.

"Next week, it will be three months after the sending of the Article 50 letter", he said.

May has given no indication that she will change her plan for Brexit, though she has said she will try to achieve broader agreement across her party.

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