Prime Minister Theresa May to host DUP for Downing Street talks on Tuesday

Mark Sands
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Leader Of The DUP Arlene Foster Addresses Possibility Of Election Coalition
Election results left Theresa May's Conservatives short of the numbers required for a majority government. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has invited Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster for further talks on a potential "confidence and supply" deal early next week.

Foster will attend Downing Street on Tuesday for talks with the Conservative leader as work continues to establish a stable government in the aftermath of the bombshell General Election results.

May no longer has enough MPs for a majority in parliament, and dispatched chief whip Gavin Williamson to Belfast for talks with the DUP in the aftermath of the vote.

And now, Foster has confirmed she will make the return trip on Tuesday for further negotiations.

Speaking to Sky News, Foster said her party had "very good" negotiations with the Conservatives and said the DUP would seek to "bring stability to the nation".

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It comes after Downing Street was forced into a humiliating clarification on the status of negotiations, admitting it had yet to reach a deal with the Northern Irish party.

Officials claimed last night that a "confidence and supply" deal – offering the Tories informal reassurance they could count on DUP support – had been reached.

However, when the unionists denied any agreement, Downing Street was forced to restate its position, in a clarification issued after midnight.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister has tonight spoken with the DUP to discuss finalising a confidence and supply deal when Parliament returns next week.

"We will welcome any such deal being agreed, as it will provide the stability and certainty the whole country requires as we embark on Brexit and beyond.

"As and when details are finalised both parties will put them forward."

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The idea of a deal with the DUP has already raised discomfort with some Tories. Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson this weekend tweeted a link to a speech she made in Belfast on marriage equality in an apparent criticism of the talks.

Davidson, who is gay and set to marry an Irish Catholic later this year, subsequently said she had received "categoric assurances" from Downing Street that any deal would not affect LGBTI rights.

And rebellious backbencher Heidi Allen, who has previously criticised her party's stance on issues including cuts to tax credits, has also spoken out over the talks, saying she was "deeply unhappy" over the prospect of a formal deal with the DUP.

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