British prime minister Theresa May has yet to secure an agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists (DUP) on a deal to prop up her minority government after last week’s catastrophic election resulted in a hung parliament.
DUP leader Arlene Foster is due for talks in Downing Street tomorrow with a view to finalising the arrangements, but former Tory chancellor George Osborne warned that Ms May would have to soften her stance on Brexit if she wanted the backing of the DUP’s 10 MPs in the Commons.
Outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny has raised concerns with Ms May about the lack of Irish nationalist voices in Westminster.
The pair spoke by phone yesterday morning and Mr Kenny expressed concern that, given the lack of any SDLP MP in the new House of Commons, and Sinn Féin’s policy of not taking their seats, northern nationalists will have no voice in the UK parliament.
According to a statement, the two leaders discussed the outcome of the election and Ms May outlined the proposed supply-and-confidence arrangement between her party and the DUP.
Northern Ireland’s returning secretary of state has warned the latest deadline to restore devolution is “final and immovable”.
James Brokenshire also made clear the reintroduction of direct rule from Westminster is on the cards if an agreement does not materialise by June 29. “Northern Ireland’s political leaders now have this chance to take control and restore effective power sharing government under the current assembly mandate,” he said.
“If they do not, the power to make decisions passes to others. Their choice in the next three weeks will shape Northern Ireland’s future.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has brushed off reports that he is plotting to oust Ms May, saying he fully supported her attempts to form a minority government.
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