Northern Ireland’s DUP says talks with Conservatives to continue in London

Theresa May insisted the Government was “absolutely steadfast” in its commitment to the Northern Irish peace process as she faced questions on whether a DUP-Tory alliance would put fragile agreements at risk.After meeting May in Downing Street, Arlene Foster said discussions were “going well” and she hoped for a “successful conclusion”, the BBC reported.An agreement between the Tories and DUP is thought to be close, with Mrs May saying the talks had been “productive” and emphasising the need for “stability” in government.”If that’s not possible, the Labour Party stands ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest”.Britain’s prime minister has begun talks with a Northern Ireland-based party Tuesday to see if they can create an alliance to push through the Conservative Party’s agenda after a disastrous snap election left her short of a majority in Parliament.May told the first post-election session of the lower house that she had discussed the DUP talks with her cabinet.Her performance was roundly praised by Conservative MPs, some of whom were openly questioning her future over the weekend.John O’Doherty, of LGBT health group the Rainbow Project, said: ‘It is time for government to respect the will of the people of Northern Ireland, which is overwhelmingly in support of civil marriage equality.Amid calls from some MPs for the Conservatives to rethink their Brexit strategy, he said there was a “clear consensus” for leaving the single market and ending free movement while retaining the “maximum access” to European Union markets and maintaining co-operation in key areas such as science.”I can’t negotiate with myself”, was Michel Barnier’s response, who’s the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.A Conservative Party source said it was time for the government to get on with its business.The Conservative source said: “We’re confident of getting an agreement, we’re confident that the Queen’s speech will be passed”.May desperately needs the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 seats to pass legislation.That border will become an external European Union border after Brexit and there have been growing fears that any border controls would have a serious economic impact on both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The party is also seeking changes to the Conservative manifesto which would ease austerity and avoid planned cuts to benefits for pensioners.Downing Street has warned that direct rule from London could be imposed if no solution is found before the June 29 deadline.Brexit Minister David Davis has insisted the approach to the European Union divorce has not changed, but May has recognized that a broader consensus needs to be built for Brexit and has made clear she would listen to all wings of the party on the issue.”The danger is that however much any government tries they will not be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary deal at Westminster with one of the Northern Ireland parties, and you never know in what unpredictable way events will turn out, and we can not know if that impartiality is going to be crucial at some stage in the future”. “I am dubious about it”, Major said.Talks between the DUP and the Tories are set to continue again tomorrow.