London: UK Prime Minister Theresa May is resuming discussions with the Democratic Unionists as she aims to nail down an agreement with the Northern Irish party that ensures her Conservatives keep a grip on power.
Prime Minister Theresa May kept her grip on power by reaching a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which will support her minority government in key votes in the U.K. Parliament.
Broadcasters aired footage of Conservative Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, the party’s longest-serving member of the Westminster Parliament, signing the accord and shaking hands. A U.K. official confirmed by phone the deal had been sealed after talks were held on Monday morning between May and DUP leader Arlene Foster.
The so-called confidence and supply agreement caps 17 days of discussions after the Conservatives unexpectedly lost their parliamentary majority in this month’s snap election. With May relying on the DUP’s 10 lawmakers to win votes in the House of Commons, talks have centered on extra money for Northern Ireland and plans for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
The first test of the agreement will come this week, when votes are due to be held on May’s legislative agenda for the next two years. The premier last week outlined a pared-down program, to which the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat parties are seeking amendments.
The legislation includes eight Brexit bills on topics ranging from agriculture and fisheries to nuclear cooperation and immigration. Later on Monday, May will also publish details on how she intends to protect the rights of 3.2 million EU nationals residing in Britain once the U.K. has left the bloc in 2019. She drew a tepid reaction from fellow EU leaders last week when she sketched out the plans at a meeting in Brussels. Bloomberg