“It continues and when the deal is done, it will be done”, a senior source in the Conservative Party said on Thursday.
May left Downing Street without responding to reporters’ questions on whether an agreement had been reached with the DUP, which is needed to help the Conservatives command the majority they lost in last week’s election.
“The UK Government is offering whatever support we can, working alongside the Irish government, as appropriate, honouring our respective commitments in the Belfast Agreement to serve the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland“, he said.
European Union leaders have voiced growing impatience to start Brexit negotiations, which have already been delayed by the parliamentary election – and on which the clock is ticking.
Among these was whether Britain’s position would “be the same as in the letter of March 29” when May triggered the two-year Brexit countdown.
“I can’t negotiate with myself”, was Michel Barnier’s response, who’s the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.
“It’s passing quicker than anyone believes”.
Mr Dodds said that the speech was “not relevant” to their negotiations.
May’s government has said its Brexit plans remain the same, and her Brexit minister David Davis will be pressing for close economic ties but a clear break with the bloc to be able to control immigration and restore sovereignty over British laws. The Common Travel Area is an open borders area comprising the Republic of Ireland and Britain.
Under the proposed deal, the DUP would likely support May’s Conservatives on big issues such as the budget, Brexit and defence legislation on a vote-by-vote-basis.
Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance have all made clear Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire can not chair the ongoing process to restore powersharing at Stormont due to their perception he has a conflict of interest.
The prospect of such a deal has already raised alarm in Dublin, where Prime Minister Enda Kenny has warned of the impact on peace in the British province, while the DUP’s ultra-conservative views have also prompted criticism.
Northern Irish and Scottish political leaders voice concerns about pact to keep Tories in power.
The draft agreement could indicate potential sticking points in the anticipated “confidence and supply” agreement between the parties, stating that DUP MPs will vote with the Government on all matters except – crucially – welfare reforms, matters relating exclusively to Northern Ireland and matters relating to the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“This new arrangement is very unsettling and people are concerned and anxious about what it may mean”, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP.