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Conservatives and DUP on brink of coalition deal

By Conor Coyle

Date: Tuesday 13 Jun 2017

Conservatives and DUP on brink of coalition deal

(ShareCast News) - Theresa May and the Conservative Party appear close to a deal with with the Democratic Unionist Party about forming a government in the UK, with the official date for the start of Brexit negotiations rapidly approaching.
The Conservatives unexpectedly lost their parliamentary majority in last week's general election, which May called in order to strengthen the party's mandate heading into the discussions with EU leaders.

Now May is seeking to gain the support of the 10 DUP MPs, who have become unlikely kingmakers following last week's vote.

Foster and her colleagues were expected to ask for concessions on several Tory policies, including the scrapping of the triple-lock pension scheme, but May has said the NI party will have no veto on major policies.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said on Tuesday that an agreement between the two sides would be concluded "soon".

MPs returned to Westminster on Tuesday for the new parliamentary session, after May spoke at a crunch 1922 committee meeting in which she apologised to Tory backbenchers for the party's election performance. May reportedly took full responsibility for the result but vowed to lead the Tories through the term if MPs backed her.

The so-called 'confidence and supply' government being discussed by the Conservatives and the DUP has sparked widespread criticism due to several controversial views held by the latter on homosexuality and climate change.

Some have also called into question the UK government's role as a mediator in the Northern Ireland peace process, with a possible DUP presence in the executive potentially leading to bias during a political vacuum in the region.

Former prime minister Sir John Major said on Tuesday that the deal would harm the peace process in NI.

"A fundamental part of that peace process is that the UK government needs to be impartial between all the competing interests in Northern Ireland, " Major said. "And the danger is that however much any government tries, they will not be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary deal at Westminster with one of the Northern Ireland parties."

"And the question arises, if they cease to be seen as such by part of the community in Northern Ireland, then one can't be quite certain how events will unwind. And that worries me a great deal about the peace process."


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