DUP leader says talks with Britain's Conservatives 'positive'

Henrietta Brewer
June 13, 2017

Failure to reach agreement would probably mean a return to an indefinite period of direct rule from London, since yet another local election would be unlikely to break the logjam between the main parties.

Politicians from several parties, including an MP from the DUP's future partners in Westminster, the Conservatives, have called for clarification.

Voters in Northern Ireland voted to Remain despite the DUP's support of the Leave campaign.

Impossible to say, but no one thinks the Conservative party will allow her to fight another general election.

A Tory-DUP pact is also a partnership that brings into mainstream British politics a party which is opposed to societal ideals widely held by the British public - such as rights for the LGBT community and on abortion and environmental values around climate change. It was these concerns that led Davidson who is herself in a same-sex relationship to tweet a speech she had given in support of same-sex rights and to also seek specific assurances from Prime Minister May that there would be no changes to the recent progress made on LGBTI rights.

"I never said the British government are not honest brokers because they are putting together a deal with the DUP", he said.

Second, the deal also changes the dynamics of the Brexit negotiations in Westminster. Ms May remains as prime minister unless and until she loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons, such as defeat on her Queen's Speech.

At one of its most important moments in its history, the country is rudderless and facing a constitutional crisis. The result of the election, however, has overturned this plan.

Opponents of a sharp break include Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives who helped the party win 12 more seats in Scotland in contrast to losses elsewhere, have called for a closer relationship with the European Union after Brexit. For example, while the DUP are committed Eurosceptics it is not clear whether they support all of these harder Brexit positions.

Nearly all medium-sized businesses want to maintain access to the single market and customs union, according to a study from Harvard University's Kennedy School co-authored by Ed Balls, a former Labour politician, and Peter Sands, former CEO of Standard Chartered Plc.

In an article in the Belfast Telegraph, Foster listed three priorities, including getting Northern Ireland's devolved power-sharing government at Stormont working again.

If the two sides can not strike an agreement, Mr Brokenshire - who left a Cabinet meeting early to attend the talks - has threatened to rule Northern Ireland from Westminster.

The Orange Order is a masonic-style, hyper-conservative religious and political organization which grew out of Northern Ireland's centuries-long sectarian conflict. "Coming back without securing European Union members' ability to work in the United Kingdom, or coming back without tariff-free trade barriers, is simply not going to be acceptable".

His sentiments have been echoed by Labour's former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, who called it a "very, very risky move at a time of crisis at Stormont".

The election result forced Mrs May to search for a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her government and vote through vital legislation. This is because Sinn Fein and other Irish nationalists are very unlikely to look favourably on a Conservative-DUP alliance, arguing that this would threaten the impartiality that the government must demonstrate when dealing with the different political traditions in Northern Ireland. "This could reopen Brexit but there will be opposition to Brexit backsliding among Conservatives and the DUP".

Kenny said he had "indicated ... concern that nothing should happen to put the Good Friday Agreement as risk" while Jonathan Powell, a former adviser to Tony Blair, said May's plan "could undo 20 years of work in Northern Ireland".

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