UK's May holds alliance talks with NIreland party chief

The PM told the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday that a deal with the DUP would not affect power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland or LGBT rights.

It is thought Mrs Foster, despite being a Brexit supporter, could seek assurances from Mrs May that she will pursue a softer exit from the European Union, given Northern Ireland's 56% Remain vote and the DUP's desire not to see a return to a hard border with Ireland.

"Experience shows us that unionists have minimal influence on any British government".

Sinn Fein is still committed to powersharing at Stormont as it provides a strategic route to a united Ireland, party president Gerry Adams has said.

The DUP has previously blocked attempts to reform the region's abortion laws, which date back to 1861 and have been found to breach women's rights.

In a reflection of her newfound humility, May managed a joke at her own expense as Britain's House of Commons got underway in the first sitting after Thursday's general election.

"We made clear at the beginning of these talks that James Brokenshire is not an acceptable chair".

Amnesty International has issued a warning that the negotiations to establish the next UK Government must not trade away long overdue abortion law reform in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom and Ireland where same-sex marriage remains outlawed.

The dispute has prompted renewed calls for an independent mediator from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland to be appointed.

The Tories and the DUP are locked in talks after last week's election result, which left a hung parliament at Westminster.

"It is important to distinguish what happens at Westminster and the votes that take place here, and devolution and the obligations and responsibilities that we hold fast to in relation to Northern Ireland", he said.

Devolution in Northern Ireland is based on the template laid out in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

A failure to gain support from the Northern Irish party would risk the Queen's Speech being voted down next week, and Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will be pushing hard for that outcome.

The Secretary of State said the government remained "four square" behind the Good Friday accord.

"This new arrangement is very unsettling, and people are concerned and wary of what it may mean, and what promises will be given, or promises extracted from Theresa May", said Michelle Gildernew, a lawmaker for Sinn Fein.

  • Leroy Wright