Belfast Telegraph

I will do best for UK and Northern Ireland, says Arlene Foster in first interview on Conservative talks

Arlene Foster has said she will do the best for Northern Ireland and the UK in any deal with the Conservatives to allow the party to operate a minority government.

The DUP and Conservatives have been locked in discussions over how the two could work together in parliament.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister's office said a deal had been done, but the DUP later said the talks were continuing. Arlene Foster has said those discussions are set to continue on Tuesday.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday in her first interview since discussions begun, the DUP leader said: "We have had very good discussion yesterday with the Conservative party in relation to how we could support them in forming a national government. One that would bring stability to the nation.

"Those discussions continue but we have made good progress."

Read more: DUP deal with Conservatives only for big issues and we don't have to agree with them on social matters, says Defence Secretary Michael Fallon

Asked what the DUP would be demanding in any deal, she continued: "I am not going to negotiate over the airwaves. But we will act in the national interest and do what it right for the United Kingdom as a whole and in particular for Northern Ireland.

"There has been a lot of hyperbole since Thursday. A lot of things said, a lot by people who really don't know what we stand for.

"Just to be clear we will act in the national interest, we want to do what is right for the whole of the UK, we want to bring stability to he government of the United Kingdom."

Read more: DUP leader Arlene Foster to hold talks at No10 with Theresa May

Conservative MP Anna Soubry said that Theresa May's position was "untenable".

"But not in the short term," she told Sky, "we need stability now."

On the DUP deal, she added: "If DUP vote for the Queen's Speech and Budget, I don't have a problem with that. I didn't sign up to other stuff ... I detest those policies."

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill said a deal between the Conservatives and the DUP would "betray the interests" of the people of Northern Ireland.

She added: “This new arrangement between the DUP and the Tories will be transitory and will end in tears. But it will be the people of the north who will have to pay the price for the DUP’s support for Brexit and for cuts.

“Given the Tory government’s increasingly partisan approach it is more important than ever that the Taoiseach and the Irish government stand up for the rights of all citizens in the north.

“The Irish government needs to seize the initiative to secure designated special status for the North within the EU as part of the Brexit negotiations."

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