UK's May Faces Calls to Soften Brexit as Political Limbo Drags On

"Delay to deal with DUP means likely postponement of Queens speech; and possibly Brexit talks", BBC political reporter Norman Smith said on Twitter. The Northern Ireland executive, now in limbo, had committed to setting a rate of 12.5 percent, matching that of the Irish Republic, in April 2018.

If the announcement of the deal is delayed, then the Queen's speech, which is supposed to happen on Monday, June 19, could also be delayed by at least a week.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance Party - which all failed to win any seats in the general election - said they would also meet May.

Even with a deal nearing to secure her government's survival, May is so weakened that her Brexit strategy has become the subject of public debate inside her own party, with two former prime ministers urging her to soften her approach.

They also said the rally would protest the DUP's record on "access to abortion", and that if the deal goes through the Conservatives would be joining with a party "known to promote policy which restricts the rights of women and LGBT people".

The anticipated deal with the DUP has forced Mrs May to reject claims that the Government will fatally undermine its supposed impartiality in Northern Ireland, in particular in the ongoing process to restore Stormont powersharing.

Both the Conservative Party and the DUP were now focused on finalising the "terms and conditions" of the deal following a meeting between May and DUP leader Arlene Foster on Tuesday, the DUP source told the channel. But pressure was mounting on Mrs May to change course on the type of Brexit Britain should pursue, and consult more widely across rival parties.

Asked about Mr Verhofstadt's comments, European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein played down suggestions of a change in the UK's status, telling reporters: "The UK is a member of the European Union and will remain so until it leaves, so that is where we are".

At a joint press conference with Mrs May in Paris on Tuesday night, France's President Emmanuel Macron suggested the door was still open for the United Kingdom to remain within the European Union. I think people here in Northern Ireland have had enough.

Talks with the DUP broke up on Tuesday night without an agreement, but Mrs May said the discussions had been "productive".

"The talks are continuing but I think the events in London today probably will have some impact on that".

"I will be making it very clear that any deal between the Tories and the DUP can not be allowed to undermine the Good Friday and subsequent agreements".

In a statement afterwards, Mrs May said that "good progress" had been made and an agreement was possible if there was "good will on all sides".


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