Theresa May seeks deal with DUP

Theresa May seeks deal with DUP

There’s no let up for Theresa May. Britain’s embattled leader hopes to hammer out a deal with the DUP’s leader

Brexit

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There’s no let up for Theresa May. Britain’s embattled leader hopes to hammer out a deal with the DUP’s leader Arlene Foster today to keep her Conservative Party in government.

Claiming 318 seats in last Thursday’s election, the Conservatives find themselves eight seats short of a majority and in need of the Democratic Unionist Party’s ten seats. But senior Tory figures say a formal coalition with the right-wing Northern Irish party, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, isn’t on the table. Instead, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said, the DUP will provide support “on the big things” like economic, security and Brexit-related legislation.

Even if Ms May strikes a deal with the DUP, her government will have a mere two-seat majority—that presupposes all Conservative lawmakers tow the party line. This vulnerability will have profound implications for the prime minister’s hard Brexit ambitions, which are opposed by a sizeable minority of Tory MPs. The prospect of an intra-party revolt is likely to soften her approach to Brexit, which she’s expected to foreshadow in her Queen’s Speech next week.

But the prime minister may not last that long—she’s certainly unlikely to see out the year—leaving Brexit negotiations in the lurch.