May nears deal with Northern Irish 'kingmakers'


A conclusion on the deal was expected on Wednesday, but the decision may now be delayed to next week, after the DUP said it would be inappropriate to conclude talks and announce a deal on the same day as a fire consumed a tower block in west London, killing 12 people.

Many European Union citizens would like to follow Britain in having a chance to vote on membership of the bloc, although fewer than one in five support leaving it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was scheduled to meet the leader of a small Northern Irish Protestant party on Tuesday to save her premiership and avoid a second election that would thrust Brexit negotiations into turmoil. "It's our dominating theme today and will remain so over the weekend as bodies are recovered and we start to get a sense of the scale of the tragedy".

Former Conservative prime minister John Major went further and argued any arrangement was "completely unnecessary" given the DUP's outright resistance to a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.

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

"It continues and when the deal is done, it will be done", a senior source in the Conservative Party said on Thursday.

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Talks restarted on Monday in Belfast, under Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire.

The remarks come amid mounting criticism that Mrs May's proposed deal with the Unionist MPs - needed for the Tories after they lost their majority - jeopardises peace in Northern Ireland.

But the Government will press ahead with the first round of Brexit talks two days before the official opening of Parliament.

"It's a unity of goal, having voted to leave the European Union, that their Government gets on with that and makes a success of it, and we are committed to developing a deep and special partnership with the EU".

The prospect of Brexit has sent a wave of concern through Britain's business sector. "An agreement to restore devolved power-sharing government in Stormont must be reached by the 29 June deadline", he said.

France's Macron said the EU's door was still open for Britain as long as the negotiations were not finished, but that it would be hard to reverse course.

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"Depending on a hard or soft Brexit, that number might be slightly less than that, so it's going to be updated all the time", its United Kingdom chief executive Ian Stuart told BBC television.

"We never put timescales on when we expect a deal to be done and I'm not going to start now".

Mrs May said the election revealed "a unity of purpose" among British voters for the Government to get on with Brexit.

Britain could lose its budget rebate and opt-outs if it changes its mind about Brexit and decides to remain a member of the European Union, an influential MEP has suggested.

"In my experience recently, businesses that look over the garden fence have gone: "Hmm, (the) grass is not quite as dark and unforgiving as you might expect", Andrew told the BBC.

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