Tory Environment minister Gove meets DUP but 'cancels' on Sinn Féin

Tory environment minister Michael Gove (centre) met senior DUP figures at the weekend including Ian Paisley, Paul Girvan, Diane Dodds and Nigel Dodds

TORY environment minister Michael Gove met with senior DUP members in Co Antrim at the weekend but cancelled planned discussions with Sinn Féin "at the last minute", according to the party.

The development comes almost four weeks after the DUP agreed a deal to back Theresa May's minority government and keep them in power.

Sinn Féin said party chairperson Declan Kearney said Mr Gove had given no reason for the cancellation of the pre-arranged meeting and warned of the political fallout from DUP/Tory pact, saying it will be "more difficult to reach a resolution" over the north's political crisis.

Mr Gove's visit to the Antrim Show on Saturday, where he met with DUP MPs Paul Girvan and Ian Paisly, also follows controversial comments made about Northern Ireland farmers having to earn government subsidies rather than just be handed out.

Concerns have also been raised about potential hikes in food prices post-Brexit.

In Antrim Mr Gove sought to reassure farmers about their subsidies, saying the UK framework for agriculture would have the flexibility to allow the devolved governments to make sure the policy is right for them - but did not clarify the limits of any framework.

The Conservative Party manifesto pledged to keep overall farm subsidies at their current levels until 2022.

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