Belfast Telegraph

DUP: Government talks 'have not proceeded in a way we would have expected'

The DUP have warned that a deal with Theresa May to shore up her minority government is "certainly not imminent".

A DUP source told the Press Association said that talks with Mrs May's Conservatives "haven't proceeded in a way that the DUP would have expected" and cautioned that the party "can't be taken for granted".

The development came just a day ahead of the Queen's Speech, and threatens to leave Mrs May uncertain of her ability to secure a Commons majority for her Government's legislative programme for the coming two years.

But the source said agreement before Wednesday's State Opening of Parliament could not entirely be ruled out if there was movement in the talks between the parties.

Read more: Proposed DUP deal would not undermine Good Friday Agreement, insists May

The DUP is urging the Government to give "greater focus" to the negotiations.

A Number 10 spokesman would say only that talks were "ongoing".

It is thought that the DUP is asking for more investment for Northern Ireland as part of the price of its support, and the party also wants the retention of the triple lock guarantee on pensions and winter fuel allowances for older people.

Arlene Foster's party backs Brexit, but wants to avoid any disruption to movements across the border with the Irish Republic.

Mrs May has rejected claims that a deal with the DUP would undermine the Government's ability to act as an honest broker in talks on the restoration of devolved institutions and power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

Read more: Sir John Major 'dubious' over DUP deal with Theresa May - warns of need to protect Northern Ireland peace process from 'hard men' returning to streets

A confidence and supply arrangement would fall short of a full coalition.

The DUP would remain outside Government but would ensure its survival by guaranteeing to vote with it on financial measures and no-confidence votes.

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