Former PM Major: May's DUP deal is risk to Northern Ireland peace

Mr Adams said: 'We have just finished a meeting with the British prime minister and her secretary of state.

Mrs May needs the votes of the DUP's 10 MPs to prop up her minority administration as she hopes to steer government business, including crucial measures on Brexit, through the Commons.

They resumed as Sinn Fein's seven abstentionist MPs - who could bring Labour's Jeremy Corbyn closer to a Commons majority if they wished - arrived in London while other MPs, including those of the DUP, were sworn in.

He said he is "wary" about the "fragile" deal between the prime minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster as it might undermine Northern Ireland's peace process, which he claims may "unwind".

The pro-Brexit DUP nevertheless wants no return to a Border and customs controls between north and south and wants continued access to the European Union single market.

Mr Brokenshire said: "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".

"People knew that we were abstentionist MPs, they have elected us to represent them but not to take our seats".

"I understand there is a new United Kingdom government and changes in the government in the Republic but there remains no impetus to this process, which doesn't inspire confidence", he said.

"A fundamental part of that peace process is that the United Kingdom government needs to be impartial between all the competing interests in Northern Ireland".

Ahead of her meeting in London Sinn Féin's leader at Stormont, Michelle O'Neill, said a DUP-Tory deal would not be allowed to undermine the peace process.

During the appearance, Ms O'Neill said: 'We made very clear to the prime minister that any deal between herself and the DUP can not undermine the Good Friday agreement.

Second, the fragility of Northern Ireland is much overstated....

Some of the other NI parties have said salvaging devolution at Stormont will become more hard if such a deal comes into effect. Devolved government at Stormont, site of the Northern Ireland assembly, broke down in January and has yet to restart.

"It's imperative that both governments recommit to the word, spirit and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement if there is to be any prospect of re-establishing the Executive", O'Neill said in a statement.

"We will be asking the prime minister to be open with politicians and also with the public", he said.

  • Leroy Wright