Theresa May faces legal challenge over proposed deal with DUP

Frederick Owens
June 20, 2017

The anticipated arrangement has forced the UK Government to reject suggestions its commitment to act with impartiality in Northern Ireland - as set out in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement - will be fatally undermined by any pact with the DUP.

Last week, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams went to Downing Street and told Theresa May that an agreement with the DUP would constitute a breach of the Good Friday Agreement, making clear his party will continue to demand a "unity poll", referred to by the Good Friday Agreement as a "border poll".

Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority in the snap election, and now needs the support of the controversial party when trying to pass new laws.

"These talks will be hard at points, but we will be approaching them in a constructive way".

In one of his first major bilateral visits, the Irish Taoiseach said he had also been "very reassured" about the Conservative party's proposed agreement with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and its feared impact on the impartiality of the British and Irish governments in the region.

Grayling said the DUP were not interested in another election and added there should not be a change of prime minister amid questions over May's own position after the botched election campaign and her response to a deadly London tower block fire in which at least 79 people died.

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A DUP source said the negotiations were "ongoing" and that the party was attempting to deliver "a more compassionate style of government for the whole of the UK".

The comments were seen as a coded reference to the party's opposition to scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions and means testing the winter fuel allowance - both of which were in the Conservative manifesto.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the talks had begun badly because Mrs May lacked authority and a mandate.

The pair held talks on the devolved Northern Ireland Government - which has yet to put in place a new administration.

Germany's foreign minister says there may now be a chance of a "soft" British exit from the European Union but is warning that Britain couldn't pick and choose its conditions. "We have a system in this country, an electoral system, victor takes all".

Asked in Belfast if negotiations with the Tories would conclude this week, Mr Hamilton said: "They will take as long as they take".

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