Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Northern Ireland's DUP says talks with Conservatives to continue in London


British Prime Minister Theresa May neared a deal with a Northern Irish Protestant party to save her premiership on Tuesday as she came under intense pressure to soften her approach to Brexit days before the start of formal European Union divorce talks.

"I'm the person who got us into this mess and I'm the one who will get us out of it", she said.

The Sinn Fein leader added that he and his colleagues handed over the late Martin McGuinness's resignation letter, written when he stood down as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister in January.

The door is "always open" for the United Kingdom to remain in the EU, France President Emmanuel Macron said.

Foster also said a deal on power-sharing in Northern Ireland is "very likely" this month, according to RTÉ.

Theresa May insisted the Government was "absolutely steadfast" in its commitment to the Northern Irish peace process as she faced questions on whether a DUP-Tory alliance would put fragile agreements at risk.

The move came as a senior Conservative source said talks with the DUP on a deal to prop up a minority Tory administration were "progressing well" with "broad agreement" on the principles of the Speech, setting out the Government's legislative programme for the coming year.

"I want us to have a good working relationship so that from his jurisdiction and my jurisdiction we can work together for the good of all our people".

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Almost a fifth of the UK's food and drink exports go to the Republic of Ireland and in March industry bodies from across the British food and drink sector wrote an open letter to various government departments calling for "frictionless" tariff-free trade with Ireland to continue post-Brexit.

On his talks in London with Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, he said they had offered an "Irish solution to an English problem" as giving Northern Ireland special European Union status after Brexit to keep an open border on the island.

Several Conservative and other leaders have cautioned against the coalition since it would compromise London's neutral position between the contending groups in Northern Ireland - the Republicans and Unionists - and adversely hit the Good Friday Agreement.

"We know each other and we understand each other", she said.

"People regard the peace process, which was very hard earned over very many years by a lot of people, people shouldn't regard it is a given".

Britain and the European Union will get Brexit negotiations underway on Monday as initially planned, the government has confirmed.

"We would restore faith in politics if we could show that this parliament can at least function in presenting a view in the national interest which would command a majority on a cross-party basis", said veteran pro-European Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke.

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