DUP head arrives for talks with UK leader May

Prime Minister Theresa May sought to strike 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 formal European Union divorce talks.

"I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out", May told Conservatives MPs during a crunch meeting in Westminster.

Several senior members of Mrs Theresa May's Cabinet came out to defend the embattled Prime Minister yesterday amid doubts about whether she will remain in power after last week's disastrous election, which saw her party's majority wiped out in Parliament.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is touted as the favourite to replace May should she be forced out, called on colleagues to rally behind her.

Supporters of "hard" and "soft" Brexit tried to take advantage of the political chaos in Britain on Monday to promote their visions amid fears that their rivalry could revive old divisions in the Conservative party. "Now is the time for delivery - and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work".

"They would see it as the government paying cash for votes in parliament, and in doing so I think that could well cost votes in the country for the Conservative party, by the bucketload, at a subsequent election", he said.

Days after May lost her parliamentary majority in a failed electoral gamble, the premier welcomed the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party to Downing Street in a bid to gain the support of its 10 MPs.

She apologized to fellow Tories for leaving the party in a worse off position than it was when she inherited the leadership from David Cameron.

With British politics thrust into the deepest turmoil since last June's shock Brexit vote, European Union leaders were left wondering how the divorce talks would open next week.

But since coming to power three weeks after the shock vote to leave the European Union, the prime minister has advocated a hard Brexit, which would entail Britain leaving the single market and cutting immigration from the bloc. "She said she will serve us as long as we want her".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said May's government lacked the credibility necessary for Brexit talks and should delay the negotiations.

He told Sky News that the reality of the election result meant that May and her government would need to reach beyond party lines.

Reports suggest the deal will provide the broad outlines of an agreement between the DUP and the Conservatives, with further talks on a rolling basis as legislation is brought before the House of Commons. It was a reference to the May's government which started their election campaign at the end of April expecting a landslide victory, only to emerge losing their majority.

"I think there is a unity of objective among people in the United Kingdom", May said following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

Ignoring demands that she resign, Mrs May said on Friday that she will form a minority government with the support of the DUP in the form of a loose alliance.

Mr Mansergh also felt that any additional financial commitments provided to NI as part of the pending Tory-DUP deal could give Sinn Fein added impetus to return to the power-sharing institutions.

Major said on the BBC's The World at One, that he's "concerned about the deal" with the DUP "for the peace process reason and other reasons as well", citing the risk of a return of violence in Northern Ireland.

The EU has said that sufficient progress must be made on these issues before trade deals can be discussed, though Britain had argued the talks should take place simultaneously.

  • Zachary Reyes