'Slower progress' in Theresa May's talks with DUP

Cabinet Ministers Attend Downing Street Meeting

However, this turmoil does not appear to have deterred May, who intends to lead Britain into talks with European Union figures next week, while back home she tries to arrange a minority government deal with Northern Irish party the DUP.

For Brussels, a concern with starting talks on such models would be that Brexit supporters might end up blocking them, raising the risk of time running out to get any deal: "Would you".

Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), met May for talks in Downing Street on Tuesday but Sky News reported she had returned to Belfast on Wednesday evening, leaving party colleagues to continue the negotiations.

May has dismissed calls to resign following the dismal election result after calling a vote three years early in the hope of bolstering her slim majority, only to actually lose seats.

However, putting the pro-British unionist DUP in a position of influence in London could also undermine the British government's ability, enshrined in a 1998 peace agreement, to function as an impartial broker between Northern Ireland's unionists and its Catholic Irish nationalists.

Ministers have already said that the Queen of England's speech may have to be set back from its scheduled date of next Monday June 19, because of the ongoing negotiations.

Sinn Fein and the DUP dominate Northern Irish politics, with the two parties winning seven and 10 seats, respectively, from a total of 18 in the province.

"We never put timescales on when we expect a deal to be done and I'm not going to start now".

May hosted DUP officials for talks yesterday on an informal alliance yesterday.

But pressure was mounting for May to change course on the type of Brexit Britain should pursue.

Sources told the BBC any public statement about the talks yesterday would have been seen as inappropriate after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Colum Eastwood, the leader of the nationalist SDLP, said the government needed to "prove to the rest of us that they are not under the thumb of the DUP".

While the DUP are deeply eurosceptic, they have balked at some of the practical implications of a so-called hard Brexit - including a potential loss of a "frictionless border" with the Republic of Ireland - and talks will touch on efforts to minimise the potential damage to Northern Ireland.

She added: "Progress will not come from a deal between the DUP and Tories to prop up a Government in Westminster with an austerity and Brexit agenda but through the full implementation of the agreements and an Executive that respects the rights and delivers for all in society".

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