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Conservatives and DUP on brink of coalition deal

18 Juin 2017

The Conservatives are considering an arrangement in which the Northern Ireland party backs May on the budget and her confidence motions and the DUP stands to make huge gains from the deal.

Sinn Fein have dismissed speculation they would take their seats in Westminster to help Labour block Theresa May's Queen's Speech.

The DUP is understood to be close to agreeing to its ten MPs supporting Mrs May's minority government on a "confidence and supply basis". The border was eliminated as part of the 1998 Good Friday agreement which ended the so-called troubles.

A Conservative source said there was so far no deal to announce and that a decision on the timing of any announcement would have to wait until an agreement was finalised.

"She said she will serve us as long as we want her".

Theresa May must immediately create a cross-party joint Cabinet committee to negotiate Brexit.

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Sinn Fein's Stormont leader, Michelle O'Neill, said: "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".

Meanwhile, Fergal McFerran, the president of the National Union of Students' Irish branch said: "After the general election, there's been more attention given to equal rights here in Northern Ireland, mainly because of the record that the Northern Ireland Assembly has in terms of a lack of delivery". It was going to be a "hard Brexit" where Britain left both the European Union's "internal market" (complete free trade between the half-billion people in the EU's 28 members) and the customs union (the same external tariffs against everybody else).

The deal between the Conservatives and the DUP, which has not been finalized, was also criticized by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. It was founded by the controversial Protestant leader Ian Paisley in the 1970s and has opposed same-sex marriage and abortion. May and Foster later left through different exits.

There are suggestions the DUP could demand additional funding for Northern Ireland projects for its support. The DUP is also expected to seek restrictions on political fundraising, which would be largely aimed at weakening Sinn Fein, which receives substantial donations from groups in the United States and elsewhere.

May took up her familiar refrain, arguing the deal is vital to "give the stability to the UK Government that I think is necessary at this time".

Mr Brokenshire insisted the Government would honour its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement and warned that time was running out if power-sharing was to be restored and a return to direct rule from Westminster avoided.