DUP and Conservatives 'making progress' on deal

DUP Talks with Tories ‘have not proceeded in a way we would have expected

DUP Talks with Tories ‘have not proceeded in a way we would have expected

The Belfast North MP said the economic outlook of Northern Ireland would be "easier to predict" with "stable" government both in Belfast and Westminster.

DUP sources said on Tuesday that May's party needed to give greater focus to discussions and added that the DUP could not be taken for granted.

Mr Murphy said while the official deadline for a deal at Stormont was next Thursday - June 29 - the United Kingdom and Irish governments had told the participants an agreement had to be effectively reached by Tuesday.

"These are priorities for us, in terms of government spending, and we want some help from the Treasury".

Sir Jeffrey hinted the DUP had already secured concessions from the Tories, with the Prime Minister's pledges to end the triple lock for pensioners and means testing for the winter fuel allowance being left out of the Queen's Speech.

On the prospects of a deal, Donaldson said: "I think very good", saying "the sooner the better as far as we're concerned".

He told MPs: "The electorate sent a very clear message to politicians about austerity at the election, and I think that it's very clear since that election that people have to listen to what the people said".

The Times branded her administration the "stumbling husk of a zombie government" and said May was now "so weak that she can not arbitrate between squabbling cabinet ministers", who are increasingly publicly divided over Brexit.

Tory sources claim they remain confident they can win support for the legislative agenda set out in the Queen's Speech, with a DUP deal able to be finalised on June 22nd.

A senior Conservative source declined to comment on BBC reports that the DUP is demanding £1 billion investment in the health service in Northern Ireland and a similar figure for infrastructure projects in return for a "confidence and supply" deal.

"This Queen's Speech is about recognising and grasping the opportunities that lie ahead for the United Kingdom as we leave the EU", May said late Tuesday.

But the plan spectacularly backfired, leaving her with a minority government that is now trying to form a majority with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party.

Asked whether the absence in the Queen's speech of some austerity measures had been down to the DUP's influence - the party opposes changes to pensioner benefits, among other things - Donaldson hinted this could be the case.

"I'm a Scot, I never turn down more money".

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