Talks between UK PM May's Conservatives and Northern Ireland's DUP restart

Aaron Brown
June 17, 2017

"The recent UK General Election result did not endorse Mrs May's very specific plans for a hard Brexit", Mr Bruton said in relation to the current state of political upheaval in Britain and Northern Ireland following last week's general election result where Prime Minister Theresa May failed to secure a majority.

May's party fell eight seats short of retaining its parliamentary majority, and is now in talks with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - which won 10 seats - to forge an informal alliance.

Arriving for a meeting with his counterparts in the 28-country EU, Philip Hammond said his "clear view and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward".

May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of the divorce.

Not only did the result suggest there isn't much enthusiasm for May's threats to leave the European Union without a deal, it shows the Tories would be vulnerable if a badly-managed Brexit did economic damage.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, leaves 10 Downing Street in central London, Britain June 13, 2017.

May is expected to form the new government this week, before the Brexit negotiations with the European Union start on June 19, the very day the Queen's Speech - a ceremonial event at the opening of the new government where the queen reads out a text on future government policies - was supposed to take place. Once done, however, Brexit would be hard to reverse.

"I am concerned about the deal, I am wary about wary it, I am dubious about it, both for peace process reasons but also for other reasons as well", Major said, warning that if peace unravelled.

She raised concern that such a deal could put the Northern Ireland peace process at risk as the Government would no longer be an "honest broker" in the Good Friday Agreement.

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It's complicated", he said. "We have been robbed blind", said Stavros Vassiliou, 65, "I worked 41 years in construction.

But when asked if he or Gavin Williamson knew anything about Northern Ireland, one source replied: "They do now".

Addressing her party on Monday after one of its most memorable electoral failures, May said she would take a broader, more consultative approach to the Brexit talks.

She will have to manage conflicting demands from within her own party, including a proposal for business groups and lawmakers from all parties to agree a national position.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the Prime Minister had not convinced him the "DUP tail is not wagging the Tory dog".

Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, Major and Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party membership support a sharp break with the EU.

"I hope the people of the United Kingdom will now have the sort of honest detailed, sector by sector, debate on what Brexit might mean, a debate that they so markedly failed to have during the general election campaign".

The performance of the British economy could also influence perceptions: Data on Wednesday showed average weekly pay in the three months to April was down 0.4 per cent, year-on-year, in inflation-adjusted terms - the biggest fall since the three months to September 2014.

Following discussions in Brussels today, the offices of Brexit Secretary David Davis and the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier released a joint statement to confirm the date.

The veteran conservative predicted that Britain would regret its departure from the bloc at some point in the future.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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