Northern Ireland news

Enda Kenny: DUP/Tory pact 'must not risk Good Friday Agreement'

Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State James Brokenshire meet DUP leader Arlene Foster during a visit to the Balmoral Show last month. Picture by Stefan Rousseau, Press Association

THERE was growing alarm last night about the impact of a DUP/Tory pact on the north's political process and efforts to restore devolution.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told prime minister Theresa May yesterday of his "concern that nothing should happen to put the Good Friday Agreement at risk".

Nationalists also called for a new independent chair of talks due to resume at Stormont amid fears the Westminster link-up could scupper progress.

DUP leader Arlene Foster is expected to travel to Downing Street tomorrow to meet Mrs May.

The prime minister has been forced to turn to the party's 10 MPs for support after losing her House of Commons majority following last week's disastrous general election.

The two leaders are finalising a 'confidence and supply' arrangement where the DUP would support the Tories in key votes.

Mrs Foster, who is expected to demand a series of concessions in return, said that good progress had been made in talks over the weekend.

The discussions will overshadow the planned return of parties to Stormont today for negotiations about saving the power-sharing institutions.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP yesterday questioned the ability of the British government to be "honest brokers" and called for an independent chair.

But newly-reappointed secretary of state James Brokenshire insisted that his government remained committed to the principles of the Good Friday Agreement and to governing in the interests of all the people of the north.

He also said a June 29 deadline for agreement on restoring devolution is "final and immovable" if the re-introduction of direct rule is to be avoided.

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