Arlene Foster and Theresa May set for crucial talks in London

Arlene Foster and Theresa May set for crucial talks in London

Earlier, Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said a DUP/Tory agreement would "not necessarily" undermine the Northern Ireland peace process.

The Conservatives won 318 seats in last week's election, eight short of a majority, and therefore need the support of at least one other party to pass key legislation in Parliament.

Political rivals of the DUP are adamant the UK Government can no longer cast itself as a neutral facilitator in the process, given Theresa May's intent to form a minority government with the help of a confidence-and-supply deal with the unionist party.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster has tweeted that discussions with British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party are "going well" and that she hopes for a conclusion soon.

He said he was "concerned" about the deal between the two parties, and saying he was "wary" and "dubious" about it "both for peace process reasons but also for others reasons as well".

"What we are doing in relation to the productive talks that we are holding with the Democratic Unionist Party is ensuring that it is possible to, with their support, give the stability to the UK Government that I think is necessary at this time".

Foster said one of her main aims at Tuesday's talks with May was to get "a good deal on Brexit" for Northern Ireland.

The 1998 peace accord, which provides the template for powersharing at Stormont, commits the United Kingdom and Irish governments to demonstrate "rigorous impartiality" when it comes to the differing political traditions in Northern Ireland.

Despite the party's hard line on Brexit, the reality of politics on the ground in Northern Ireland means that any arrangement involving the DUP will be more complex than it might at first appear. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, sought assurances that LGBT rights would be protected after any deal with the DUP, which opposes same-sex marriage.

Her most senior minister Damian Green has confirmed the Queen's Speech setting out the Government's programme could be delayed if a deal is not reached in time for it to go ahead on Monday as planned.

The issue is particularly relevant at the moment, as talks to save the crisis-hit powersharing institutions at Stormont are due to resume on Monday.

Theresa May is obviously in an incredibly precarious situation considering the political makeup in Northern Ireland.

On Sunday night, Mr Brokenshire insisted the Government remained committed to the principles of the Good Friday Agreement and to governing in the interests of all the people of the region.

Downing Street has warned that direct rule from London could be imposed if no solution is found before the June 29 deadline. The complex electoral arithmetic of Northern Ireland is as much the soup the DUP swims in as are its demonstrative, and occasionally bellicose, declarations of fealty to Britain.

Major says that any reintroduction of a hard border in Northern Ireland could prove harmful to long-term peace in the country. "We need to hope for the best but prepare for the worst".

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