Published: Thu, June 29, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

DUP leader slams 'hyperbole' over gay rights policy

DUP leader slams 'hyperbole' over gay rights policy

Theresa May's talks to prop up her Government with Northern Ireland unionists are set for a "successful conclusions soon", according to the DUP leader.

Mrs May was attempting to thrash out a pact with Mrs Foster at a meeting in Downing Street to prevent the collapse of her administration.

Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds entered Downing Street at around 12:40 p.m. (1140 GMT, 7:40 a.m. EDT).

May has been trying to save herself by forming a coalition government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has warned that no arrangement between the Conservatives and the DUP would be good for Northern Ireland but Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has said the negotiations are "entirely separate from our intent and desire to see devolution restored here".

A chastened Prime Minister Theresa May made progress Tuesday in securing a deal with a small Northern Ireland party with whom she hopes to govern, just days after a catastrophic election wiped out her majority in Parliament.

May has said that the party, with its 10 crucial MPs to make up a majority in the House of Commons for the Conservatives, will have no veto on key policies.

Meanwhile, as many have called for May to resign, including former Tory Chancellor George Osborne, who branded her a "dead woman walking," some senior Tories have rallied to her defense.

"I got us into this mess, and I m going to get us out of it", May told her party MPs.

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But while the DUP is in no rush, the clock is ticking for Theresa May - failure to reach a deal ahead of next week's Queen's Speech could lead to the bill being rejected by MPs.

However, on top of being unpopular with large swathes of the United Kingdom electorate - with a petition against such a deal on change.org receiving over 700,000 signatures as of June 12 - the DUP's historically anti-gay, anti-Catholic and anti-abortion agenda has spooked even Conservative Members of Parliament.

Brexit minister David Davis has insisted the approach to the European Union divorce had not changed, but at the meeting with lawmakers on Monday, May recognised that a broader consensus needed to be built for Brexit and made clear she would listen to all wings of the party on the issue.

A deal with the DUP also risks destabilising Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists.

The DUP leader is nearly certain to ask for greater investment in Northern Ireland as the price of a deal.

It is expected that Conservative manifesto commitments that might have proved problematic for the DUP - such as cuts to winter fuel payments and the removal of the triple lock guarantee for pensioners - will be watered down or ditched altogether.

Movement on security and legacy issues from the Troubles may prove more hard for Mrs Foster to extract from the government. "That does worry me a great deal about the peace process", he told BBC Radio 4.

"We need to get on with the job of reducing the deficit so that we do not saddle the next generation with the burden of debt, and the larger the deficit the more money that should be spent on health and education is actually spent on paying down debt", he added.

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