Senior Cabinet minister offer support to UK prime minister

Posted June 15, 2017

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 over the weekend Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to former Prime Minister Tony Blair (and chief British negotiator during the 1998 Good Friday Agreement) noted that allying with any party in the highly divided political landscape of Northern Ireland was one that past government had avoided for a reason.

DUP leader Arlene Foster rejected suggestions that the mooted deal could undermine a return to power-sharing arrangements at Stormont, amid claims from political rivals that the Government's stated impartiality would be fatally undermined.

One senior pro-EU lawmaker who attended a party meeting with May - and who herself opposed Brexit last year - said the prime minister told them she wanted to build a "consensus" on how to pull out of current arrangements with Britain's main trading partner."She recognised the different views in the party on Brexit and she also recognised the need to not just reflect the party but indeed the parliament and the country", the lawmaker said.Ruth Davidson, the influential leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, which voted heavily to remain in the European Union last year and where May's party won rather than lost seats on Thursday, called for a deal that put "economic growth first" and said after the meeting with May that the Brexit policy could change. "And that worries me a great deal about the peace process".

It is thought Mrs Foster, despite being a Brexit supporter, could seek assurances from Mrs May that she will pursue a softer exit from the European Union, given Northern Ireland's 56% Remain vote and the DUP's desire not to see a return to a hard border with Ireland.

The unexpected snap election has already forced the Queen to cancel an Order of the Garter service and to accept a stripped-down State Opening without a procession, robes or the state crown.

Any further delay could mean her missing planned attendance at Royal Ascot.

Additional delay may be caused by the fact the speech read by the sovereign is written on goatskin parchment paper, a long-lasting archival paper which contains no actual goatskin, but requires several days for the ink to dry.

Pen can not be put to paper until the exact contents of the speech are finalised, which appears to be dependent on the outcome of Tory talks with the DUP.

Israel approves largest West Bank settlements in 25 years
Some 600,000 Israeli settlers now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, alongside around 4.9 million Palestinians. The figures were similar to those published by settlement watchdog Peace Now last week.

Former Housing Minister Gavin Barwell received thunderous applause from Tory MPs.

Major urged that any DUP deal be counterbalanced by evidence of a cross-party approach to Brexit. Gove, a long-time opponent who was dismissed when May became prime minister a year ago, will now serve as environment secretary.

In a hard atmosphere for the Prime Minister, May instead chose to acknowledge the diversity of the newly elected parliament.

The change of position comes after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority in the House of Commons in a disastrous election last week.

But after her appearance before her parliamentary party this evening, numerous Tories heaped praise on May, with many agreeing her robotic, emotionless "Maybot"-style of speaking during the campaign had been replaced with passion and goal".

Foreign minister Boris Johnson, who was reported by British media to be lining up a leadership bid, insisted May should stay.

May, who failed to secure an outright majority after last week's election and is aiming to strike a deal with the DUP to pass her legislative programme, made no comment as she left her Downing Street office.

"We need to get on with the job of reducing the deficit so that we do not saddle the next generation with the burden of debt, and the larger the deficit the more money that should be spent on health and education is actually spent on paying down debt".