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DUP deal with Tories will be made public, says May

By Gavin Cordon and Arj Singh

The deal between the Conservatives and the DUP will be made public once it is agreed, the Prime Minister has said.

Following talks in Downing Street with new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mrs May said the terms of any arrangement between the two Westminster parties would be made published.

"We continue our discussions with the DUP. We are talking about a confidence and supply agreement with them," she said.

"On reaching such an agreement we will make sure that the details of that are made public so that people can see exactly what that is based on."

Her comments follow warnings from Sinn Fein, the SDLP, and the Alliance Party, that a deal with the DUP could undermine the Government's attempts to restore the power-sharing executive at Stormont.

Mr Varadkar said he was reassured by the Prime Minister's commitment to make public the terms of any agreement.

"We spoke about the very important need for both governments to be impartial actors when it comes to Northern Ireland and that we are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and that any agreement that may exist between the Conservatives and the DUP should not in any way impact on the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"I am very reassured by what the Prime Minister said to me today that that won't be the case."

A DUP source said talks were "ongoing" and said the party wanted "a more compassionate style of government for the whole of the UK".

The comments were seen as a coded reference to DUP opposition to scrapping the 'triple lock' on pensions and means testing the winter fuel allowance - both Tory manifesto commitments.

Both leaders re-affirmed their commitment to ensure that Britain's withdrawal from the EU did not lead to a return of a 'hard border' between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mrs May said: "I am personally committed to ensuring a practical solution that recognises the unique economic, social, cultural and political context of the land border with Ireland, which so many people pass through every day, and it remains our priority to work closely with the Irish Government to ensure as frictionless and seamless a border as possible."

Mr Varadkar added: "We want to ensure that as much as possible, while there may be a political border between our two countries, there should not be an economic border, and that any border that does exist should be invisible."

Former DUP Stormont executive minister Simon Hamilton insisted any deal with the Tories would benefit the whole of the UK, not just Northern Ireland.

Asked in Belfast if talks with the Tories would conclude this week, Mr Hamilton said: "They will take as long as they take.

"We are working away at them and will continue to work away at them. We are hopeful of getting resolution to them as quickly as we possibly can."

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