Theresa May Warned Over Northern Ireland Unionist Deal, Power Sharing

Laura Christensen
June 19, 2017

Former British prime minister John Major said on Tuesday he was concerned about a planned deal between Prime Minister Theresa May and a mainly Protestant political party in Northern Ireland to shore up May's minority government.

May has been holding talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), keen to get the backing of their 10 lawmakers in Westminster's parliament to return to government after failing to win a majority in last week's British election.

"If there are difficulties with the Northern Ireland executive or with any one of a number of things that might well arise during the Brexit negotiations, it's very important that there's an honest broker - and the only honest broker can be the United Kingdom government", Major said.

Ms Foster, who travelled to Westminster for talks with the Tories on Tuesday, said she hoped a deal could be reached "sooner rather than later".

He said: "Any deal which undercuts in any way the process here or the Good Friday and the other agreements is one which has to be opposed by progressives".

Northern Ireland is now without a government, after a surge in support for Sinn Fein at Northern Irish Assembly elections earlier this year left nationalist parties holding a majority over unionist ones the first time.

The Conservatives and DUP are now still continuing talks in order to secure a deal, although reportedly only minor details remain to be ironed out.

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"I will be making it very clear that any deal between the Tories and the DUP can not be allowed to undermine the Good Friday and subsequent agreements", she said.

DUP sources have told the BBC an announcement on a deal with Tories had been delayed because of the unfolding tragedy of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

The DUP leader said: "There's been a lot of commentary around the issues that we are talking about and it won't surprise anyone that we are talking about matters that pertain, of course, to the nation generally".

The proposed "supply and confidence" deal would see the DUP back the Conservatives in votes on the Budget and confidence motions.

The prime minister, he said, has also "just totally ignored the will of the people of Northern Ireland in terms of Brexit", he added.

It means that Mrs May will remain as prime minister and the DUP MPs will be central to the survival of a Conservative Party administration. "We want to govern ourselves".

Other reports by My Hot News

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