Theresa May to hold talks with the DUP today in bid to reach confidence and supply deal

Caitlin Morrison
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Talks Over Northern Ireland Power Sharing Resume At Stormont
Arlene Foster is heading to 10 Downing Street today (Source: Getty)

DUP leader Arlene Foster will meet with Theresa May this morning to continue talks around a potential "confidence and supply" deal that would allow the Prime Minister to establish a government.

May first approached the Northern Irish party last Friday, in the wake of General Election results that rocked the Conservative party, which was forecast to make gains but instead lost 13 seats and ended up facing a hung parliament.

Read more: This map shows who won and where in the 2017 General Election

The PM's chief whip Gavin Williamson has already visited Belfast to speak with the DUP, and today Foster returns the favour.

Over the weekend, No 10 was forced to make a humiliating retraction after it prematurely announced a deal had been reached with the unionist party.

And yesterday, it was revealed that the Queen's speech, which would make the official return to business for parliament and had been planned for 19 June, could be delayed due to the ongoing discussions.

Read more: Who are the DUP, and what was in their election manifesto?

The pursuit of a deal with the DUP has not gained the full support of May's party. Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay, expressed misgivings about the DUP's views on equal marriage, although she later said she had received "categoric assurances" from Downing Street that any agreement would not affect LGBT rights.

Backbencher Heidi Allen MP said on Twitter she was "deeply unhappy" with the idea of relying on the Northern Irish party for support in parliament.

Meanwhile, an online petition to stop an alliance between the Conservatives and the DUP has now gathered 742,626 supporters.

The proposed deal has met with with criticism in Ireland too, with concerns about the effect it could have on peace in Northern Ireland. Outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this weekend he had spoken with May about his "concern that nothing should happen to put (the) Good Friday agreement at risk".

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