British Prime Minister Theresa May Picture: Alastair Grant/AP Photo
British Prime Minister Theresa May Picture: Alastair Grant/AP Photo

Britain's May seeks deal with N.Ireland party to cling to power

By Kylie MacLellan Time of article published Jun 11, 2017

Share this article:

London - British Prime Minister Theresa

May faced negotiations with a small Northern Irish party to

maintain her power after her Conservative Party lost its

parliamentary majority in a catastrophic electoral gamble just

days before Brexit talks are set to start.

May's Downing Street office said on Sunday she had spoken

with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to discuss finalising

a deal when parliament is reconvened next week.

"We will welcome any such deal being agreed, as it will

provide the stability and certainty the whole country requires

as we embark on Brexit and beyond," Downing Street said in a

statement.

"As and when details are finalised both parties will put

them forward," it said, referring to May's Conservative Party

and the DUP.

The Conservatives won 318 House of Commons seats in the

election, eight short of an outright majority. The DUP won 10

seats.

May had called the snap election with a view to increasing

the narrow majority she had inherited from her predecessor David

Cameron. At the start of the campaign, she was enjoying poll

leads of 20 points or more over the main opposition Labour

Party.

But after a poor campaign and an unexpectedly stiff

challenge from the opposition Labour Party under leader Jeremy

Corbyn, her plan went disastrously wrong, leaving her unable to

form a sustainable government without DUP support.

The timing is challenging, with Britain due to start

negotiating the terms of its exit from the European Union with

the bloc's 27 other members on June 19.

The Conservatives now plan to reach a so-called confidence

and supply agreement with the DUP, which would involve it

supporting a Conservative minority government on key votes in

parliament but not forming a formal coalition.

After an initial round of discussions, Downing Street had

said on Saturday that the "principles of an outline agreement"

had been agreed with the DUP.

The DUP itself later issued a statement saying the talks had

been positive, but stopped short of confirming a deal had been

sealed.

"The DUP today (Saturday) held discussions with

representatives of the Conservative Party in line with Arlene

Foster's commitment to explore how we might bring stability to

the nation at this time of great challenge," the party said.

"The talks so far have been positive. Discussions will

continue next week to work on the details and to reach agreement

on arrangements for the new parliament." 

Reuters

Share this article: