Talks between Theresa May and DUP 'going well'

DUP leader Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds arriving at 10 Downing Street in London for talks on a deal to prop up a Tory minority administration. Photo: PA
DUP leader Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds arriving at 10 Downing Street in London for talks on a deal to prop up a Tory minority administration. Photo: PA

Talks between Theresa May and the DUP over a deal that would prop up the Conservative Government have been "constructive" and are "going well".

The discussions, which have so far lasted nearly two hours, have moved from Number 10 to Parliament to allow the Prime Minister to speak in the Commons.

PM Theresa May in the House of Commons

PM Theresa May in the House of Commons

DUP leader Arlene Foster, who was accompanied by deputy Nigel Dodds, said she believed there would be a "successful conclusion" soon.

She said: "Discussions are going well with the Government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion."

A Downing Street source said the talks had been "constructive" but refused to put a timescale on when they would conclude.

"It'll be done when it's done," they added. "Talks are going well."

The Prime Minister may not be present as the talks continue because she is heading to Paris for a meeting with newly elected president Emmanuel Macron.

Mrs May left for the Commons without answering reporters' questions about how negotiations were progressing.

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.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn turned Mrs May's election slogans against her, claiming a link-up between the Tories and DUP would be a "coalition of chaos".

He said: "I'm sure we all look forward to welcoming the Queen's Speech just as soon as the coalition of chaos has been negotiated.

"If that's not possible, the Labour Party stands ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest."

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

Sinn Fein has warned such a move undermines powersharing talks in Northern Ireland and the party's seven MPs have flown to London where they will hold a briefing with reporters.

The Tories and the DUP are considering a "confidence and supply" arrangement which would see the Northern Irish party back the Government to get its Budget through and on confidence motions.