Brexit negotiations to go ahead on Monday, Government confirms

Aaron Brown
June 18, 2017

Protestors gather in Newcastle upon Tyne on June 12, 2017 to demand British Prime Minister Theresa May walk away from any alliance with the right-wing Democratic Unionist Party, or else step down.

The Conservative government lost their majority in the House of Commons last week, and so they need to form a deal with the ultra-conservative Northern Ireland party, the DUP, who are heavily against LGBT rights.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn countered with a bit of previously unforeseen swagger, wearing a huge red rose - his party's symbol - in his lapel as he sparred with May.

She said the DUP's negotiations with British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservative Party would continue through the weekend and next week.

Asked if that meant the Government would work with Labour, Mr Gove replied: "Well the parliamentary arithmetic is such that we are going to have to work with everyone".

The DUP's 10 MPs at Westminster would give May the working majority she needs to keep the Conservatives in power.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said last Friday that Brussels would be ready "at half past nine" the next morning if Britain was ready.

However, senior minister Damian Green has said the speech, which sets out the Government's programme, could be delayed if a deal is not reached in time.

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The talks with the DUP follow May's apology to Conservative rank-and-file lawmakers in a meeting Monday which signaled she would be more open to consultation, particularly with business leaders demanding answers about the details on Britain's departure from the European Union.

Mrs May's botched election gamble has left her so weakened that her Brexit strategy is the subject of debate within her party, with former prime ministers John Major and David Cameron calling on her to soften her Brexit approach.

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

The European Parliament, which named former Belgian prime minister Verhofstadt as its Brexit pointman past year, will have the final say on any deal on Britain's exit from the EU.

"I am concerned about the deal, I am wary about it, I am dubious about it, both for peace process reasons but also for other reasons as well", he said in an interview with BBC Radio 4's the World at One.

"I would like to see the DUP change its position, and indeed Northern Ireland as a whole change its position, on LGBTI issues".

If the parties can not agree on a deal, then devolution will be suspended and the Northern Irish assembly's powers returned to the United Kingdom government.

Permission for new grammar schools is also out of the Queen's Speech, but that's despite the DUP - which likes grammars - and simply because quite a lot of Tory backbenchers (hello Nicky Morgan) don't like them.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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