Sunday, 19 November, 2017

UK leader May strikes tentative deal with N Ireland party

LOndon election results 2017 UK, Northern Ireland Election Results 2017 Live News Updates: Who is winning from East Belfast, North Down and Mid Ulster
Wilma Wheeler | 11 June, 2017, 06:01

May had been hoping to boost her mandate for Brexit negotiations which are due to begin in just 10 days' time, but hung parliament has left Tories weakened with less seats that fell below the 326 needed to form a majority government.

The result was a personal humiliation for Mrs May who called the election three years before she had to to bolster her position in Parliament as she embarked on the negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Sky's Ireland correspondent David Blevins said: "If they're going to squeeze out some concession from the Tories, is that concession going to frustrate Sinn Fein to the point where the prospect of devolution disappears and there is direct rule from Westminster again in Northern Ireland - with the potential of that direct rule being imposed by a Tory government shored up by the Democratic Unionists".

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) agreed in principle to a "confidence and supply" deal with the Conservative Party, a Downing Street statement said Saturday. "Theresa May has lost credibility and leverage in her party, her country and across Europe".

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said on Twitter: "I will always oppose the death penalty & would resign if others imposed it".

Theresa May therefore remains Prime Minister despite criticism about the Conservative Party's campaign.

Downing St. says the Cabinet will discuss the agreement Monday.

The DUP has a hard-line stance against gay marriage, with former health minister Jim Wells telling the Belfast Telegraph this year: "Peter will not marry Paul in Northern Ireland".

The DUP has proved hugely controversial in the past over the homophobic and sectarian views of some of its representatives.

"We want there to be a government". But trickier will be any demands they have about the implementation of Brexit in Northern Ireland - in particular the DUP's determination to maintain a soft border with the south.

The resignations of Timothy and Hill, on whom May had been heavily reliant since her previous job at the interior ministry, will be a personal blow.

The Conservatives won 318 out of 650 seats - throwing away a 17-seat majority.

After frantic consultations with DUP leader Arlene Foster, the Prime Minister headed to Buckingham Palace to seek the formal permission of the Queen to form a new government, returning to No 10 to announce she had the "legitimacy" to continue in office.

"I've never seen people more hateful in my life", he said.

Political leaders in Northern Ireland had cast the election as a referendum on whether voters want to be part of the United Kingdom or neighboring Ireland after Brexit and a nationalist surge at regional elections in March raised the stakes in the long and divisive dispute over the province's status.

While it campaigned to leave the European Union, the DUP is keen to maintain a "frictionless border" with the Irish Republic, because of the commercial benefits it brings.

May's Christian faith could make her a more palatable ally to the socially conservative party.

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.

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