Former Tory PM John Major intervenes over 'fragile' DUP deal

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Theresa May and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster will hold critical talks on a deal to prop up a Tory minority administration after the Government admitted the Queen's Speech could be delayed.

A failure to gain support from the Northern Irish party would risk the Queen's Speech being voted down next week, and Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will be pushing hard for that outcome.

Sinn Féin, he said, "won't interfere in British affairs".

They've been of the view that leaving the European Union should lessen some of the stipulations in relation to state aid that were being applied by the Treasury to Northern Ireland, and that might take down the bill that the Treasury would put on the executive if corporation tax was lowered.

A Conservative source said this meant the party was "confident" it had enough votes for the programme to be approved, after May suffered a disastrous setback in snap elections a week ago that saw her lose her majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, just ahead of crucial Brexit negotiations with Brussels.

Philip Hammond has been accused of preventing Theresa May from concluding her deal with the DUP because of a row over airport taxes in Belfast.

The prospect of a deal between the two parties has caused disquiet, with the DUP's anti-abortion and gay rights stance in the crosshairs.

A partnership between the Conservatives and the DUP may threaten the ability of the British government to be a neutral broker between the unionists and the nationalists, Mr Jonathan Powell, former chief British government negotiator on Northern Ireland, wrote in The Guardian.

The Northern Ireland assembly broke down at the beginning of this year after Foster refused to step aside temporarily to make way for an independent inquiry into a bungled green energy scheme.

Global energy demand stumbles for third year -BP
Bob Dudley commented: "While welcome, it is not yet clear how much of this break from the past is structural and will persist". The latest report from BP detailing the global energy consumption for 2016 has shown how the black rock is on the decline.

"I am concerned about the deal, I am wary about it, I am dubious about it, both for peace process reasons, and for other reasons as well".

The Alliance Party has warned that the talks process is bereft of "impetus and momentum".

"There is very little time left". The talks have a deadline of June 29 to restore devolution or reinstate direct rule.

A Downing Street source said the talks had been "constructive" but refused to put a timescale on when they would conclude.

Sinn Fein, which won seven seats in the British parliament at last week's election but will maintain its policy of not taking them, said its leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle, O'Neill would repeat those concerns in London on Thursday.

Brexit is another complicating factor in the mix.

The PM told the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday a deal with the DUP would not affect power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland or LGBT rights.

One of the most pressing issues is the state of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Britain leaves the EU.