Britain, EU to begin Brexit negotiations on Monday

Seeking to avoid a second election that could deepen Britain's worst political turmoil since last June's shock vote to leave the EU, Ms May edged closer to a deal to get support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

The Irish republican party visited London to hold meetings with ministers and to set up their parliamentary office but the party maintained its traditional refusal to take its seats out of opposition to Westminster's jurisdiction in Northern Ireland and the oath all MPs must make to the Queen.

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".

Concessions on such issues could seriously damage efforts by the DUP to secure a deal with Sinn Fein to restore Northern Ireland's devolved government, which collapsed in January.

But May appears to be motivated by her desire to guarantee a majority in Parliament for a Queen's Speech - a key event in the parliamentary calendar in which the government lays out its policy agenda for the coming year.

The Prime Minister did not mention the ongoing deliberations as she addressed MPs but called on Parliament to "come together in a spirit of national unity" to deal with the challenges facing the country.

"We warned Mrs May that the pact between the Tories and the DUP has the potential to undermine past agreements and the re-establishment of the Executive".

"We can not support and we will oppose any deal which undermines the Good Friday agreement", Adams said.

The former party leader stressed that it was "very important" for there to be an "honest broker" in Northern Ireland and that the "only honest broker can be the UK Government".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn countered with a bit of previously unforeseen swagger, wearing a huge red rose - his party's symbol - in his lapel as he sparred with May.

In an attempt to fight back over repeated reports over the Northern Ireland right-wing party's views on social issues, the party hopes to form a deal with the Conservatives.

Sinn Fein has said the prospect of a deal between the Conservatives and the DUP is causing anxiety and fear, with the party warning it could have implications for power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland.

"Deal between DUP and government could be delayed until next week because of the aftermath of #grenfelltower and diary commitments of both leaders".

Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds entered Downing Street at around 12:40 p.m. (1140 GMT, 7:40 a.m. EDT). We will be asking the Prime Minister to be open with politicians and also with the public.

"The British Government must demonstrate that they will treat all parties equally and fully honour the agreements.

The Irish government will be critical to that and they should reassert their role as co-guarantors of our agreements", he said.

With the two-year clock on Brexit ticking since March, when a letter from May formally started proceedings, Barnier dismissed the suggestion of postponing the negotiations and said such a delay would only prompt further instability.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, which saw its number of parliamentary seats and share of the vote increase, said there could be another election this year or early in 2018 after Thursday's vote produced no clear victor.

"The DUP may never have the political arithmetic so favorable again so like the Conservatives, the DUP will want to avoid another election and will want to keep drinking in the political free bar that is available to it", Tonge said.

  • Leroy Wright