World News

Tory-DUP deal announcement 'to be delayed due to tower block tragedy'

Tory-DUP deal announcement 'to be delayed due to tower block tragedy'

May's programme will most probably have to be watered down, dropping some of her preferred reforms to help get legislation through parliament and possibly having to give way to other ministers who have strong views over the direction of Brexit.

On Thursday, May visited the wreckage of an apartment building in west London, where at least 17 people were killed in a fire, and ordered a public inquiry.

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

"We're not going to get into - and I know there has been a lot of talk about our position in relation to social issues for example - those are matters for the Northern Ireland assembly - they are not matters for Westminster and therefore we will not be dealing with them at Westminster", she told the BBC. The two leaders will hold their bilateral dialogue as they attend a France vs England global friendly football match.

She was talking about Brexit, but she now has another crucial set of negotiations clogging up her in-tray: a "confidence and supply" deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

It came as The Daily Telegraph revealed senior Cabinet ministers are engaged in secret talks with Labour MPs to secure cross-party backing for a soft Brexit.

"We want to see any deal between those two parties reflect the wishes of all of the people of Northern Ireland, not just one section of the community".

A deal with the DUP also risks destabilising Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists.

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Former British prime minister John Major said the support of the DUP could pitch the province back into turmoil by persuading "hard men" on both sides of the divide to return to violence.

Weakened by an election that was meant to strengthen her, May is now working to regain some of her lost standing.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn countered with a bit of previously unseen swagger, wearing a huge red rose - his party's symbol - in his lapel as he sparred with May and taunted her about the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming vote on her legislative program, known as the Queen's Speech.

"Obviously until we have that we can't agree the final details of the Queen's Speech", said May's deputy, Damian Green, referring to an agreement with the DUP.

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.

But the Government will press ahead with the first round of Brexit talks two days before the official opening of Parliament. If, as seems likely, the United Kingdom ultimately forms a similar free trade area with the European Union (so staying in the single market) Northern Ireland would merely have reached the same result sooner.

Brussels, The European Union (EU) and the European Commission (EC) said in a joint statement that they have set a date to begin Brexit talks with the UK.

European politicians also appeared to detect a shift in the mood around Brexit, with France's Macron saying the door was open until the negotiations had concluded for Britain to remain a member of the EU.

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