'Significant progress' made in talks between DUP leader Foster and Prime Minister Theresa May
Foster: 'The future's bright' to which Ian Paisley added: 'The future's orange'
DUP leader Arlene Foster has held her Downing Street meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on a deal which could prop up a Tory minority government, with sources saying there has been "significant progress" made.
The DUP leader entered Downing Street just after 12.30pm on Tuesday. She smiled at the waiting media as she and the DUP's leader at Westminster Nigel Dodds entered Number 10.
At a photocall ahead of the meeting with her 10 members of parliament, Arlene Foster said: "The future's bright" to which MP Ian Paisley added: "The future's orange".
Shortly after 2pm Theresa May left Downing Street in a waiting car.
Sky News reported that the DUP delegation left via a side door. Talks are set to continue after the election of a speaker in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.
In a tweet, Mrs Foster said discussions were going well and she hoped to bring the work to a successful conclusion.
Downing street described the talks as "constructive".
Later speaking in the Commons on the election of the Speaker John Bercow, Nigel Dodds said he "looked forward" to this Parliament. He said, given the SDLP and UUP absence, he and the other Northern Ireland MPs bore a "huge responsibility" and they will carry out their responsibilities "very carefully".
He said he looked forward to devolution being restored in Northern Ireland "so all can take part in governing Northern Ireland".
"We have interesting times ahead and I look forward to playing a full role in this Parliament," he said.
In his opening remarks Jeremy Corbyn said: "I'm sure we all look forward to welcoming the Queen's Speech, just as soon as the coalition of chaos has been negotiated."
Discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion.— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) June 13, 2017
The Prime Minister will be desperate to get agreement from the DUP to back her legislative programme in the House of Commons or risk her government falling.
Mrs May’s authority has been severely diminished after a disastrous general election which saw her lose her Commons majority and a deal with the DUP looks vital for the continuation of Tory rule. There has been much speculation on what could be on the DUP wish list as part of the negotiations.
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.
The Tories and the DUP are considering a “confidence and supply” arrangement which would see the Northern Irish party back the Government to get its Budget through and on confidence motions.
It comes after Mrs May told Tory MPs: “I’m the person who got us into this mess and I’m the one who will get us out of it.”
Her most senior minister Damian Green has confirmed the Queen’s Speech setting out the Government’s programme could be delayed if a deal is not reached in time for it to go ahead on Monday as planned.
Belfast Telegraph Digital