DUP agrees to principles of 'confidence and supply' deal with Tories

11 June 2017, 09:00 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists were in talks Friday to become kingmakers by lending British Prime Minister Theresa May enough backing for a parliamentary majority - support that throws the spotlight on the party's deeply right-wing outlook.

European Council President Donald Tusk has warned there is "no time to lose" in starting Brexit talks, after May on March 29 started the two-year countdown to ending Britain's four-decade membership.

Ms May is working on a cabinet reshuffle, which is expected to be limited as the election result means she can not afford to have disgruntled former ministers sniping at her from the backbenches. The DUP's demands are likely to be similar to a list it published before the 2015 general election, where the Conservatives ultimately secured a majority and did not need DUP support.That list included a demand for a cut in Northern Ireland's corporation tax rate to help it attract foreign investment. That means the DUP will back the government on key votes, but it's not a coalition government or a broader pact.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said she had lost all legitimacy and called on her to stand aside and allow him to form an alternative administration, declaring: "We are ready to serve".

"Other personnel issues are for other days", she said when asked about their future.

THE DUP has denied reaching a deal with the Tories just hours after Downing Street said an agreement had been reached that would see the party prop up Theresa May's diminished Government.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein accused the DUP of betraying the interests of Northern Ireland - with Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill predicting the confidence and supply deal would "end in tears".

"May fights to remain PM", headlined the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph headlined, while the Daily Mail said: "Tories turn on Theresa".

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The party has often found itself embroiled in controversy over its stance on gay rights issues.

Survation, the opinion polling firm that came closest to predicting correctly the election's outcome, said a new poll it conducted for the Mail on Sunday newspaper showed support for Labour now 6 percentage points ahead of the Conservatives.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay, said she had received "assurances" from May that there would be no change to gay rights for the rest of Britain.

The party with the most female lawmakers is the opposition Labour party with almost half of its elected members of parliament (MPs) women, while the smaller Green Party's only elected MP is a woman.

She had brought the election forward by three years in the hope of winning a larger Commons majority.

In a victory speech devoid of humility, the Prime Minister proffered a government which is the total opposite of "strong and stable" and the embodiment of a "coalition of chaos".

"The Conservatives have not yet broken the British system of democracy, but through their hubris and incompetence they have managed to make a mockery of it", it said in an editorial.

One area in which Theresa May could buy support from the DUP would be the tourism pump-priming, inward investment and infrastructure packages the party is seeking.



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