| LONDON, June 11
LONDON, June 11 British Prime Minister Theresa
May faced negotiations with a small Northern Irish party to
maintain her power after her Conservative Party lost its
parliamentary majority in a catastrophic electoral gamble just
days before Brexit talks are set to start.
May's Downing Street office said on Sunday she had spoken
with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to discuss finalising
a deal when parliament is reconvened next week.
"We will welcome any such deal being agreed, as it will
provide the stability and certainty the whole country requires
as we embark on Brexit and beyond," Downing Street said in a
"As and when details are finalised both parties will put
them forward," it said, referring to May's Conservative Party
and the DUP.
The Conservatives won 318 House of Commons seats in the
election, eight short of an outright majority. The DUP won 10
May had called the snap election with a view to increasing
the narrow majority she had inherited from her predecessor David
Cameron. At the start of the campaign, she was enjoying poll
leads of 20 points or more over the main opposition Labour
But after a poor campaign and an unexpectedly stiff
challenge from the opposition Labour Party under leader Jeremy
Corbyn, her plan went disastrously wrong, leaving her unable to
form a sustainable government without DUP support.
The timing is challenging, with Britain due to start
negotiating the terms of its exit from the European Union with
the bloc's 27 other members on June 19.
The Conservatives now plan to reach a so-called confidence
and supply agreement with the DUP, which would involve it
supporting a Conservative minority government on key votes in
parliament but not forming a formal coalition.
After an initial round of discussions, Downing Street had
said on Saturday that the "principles of an outline agreement"
had been agreed with the DUP.
The DUP itself later issued a statement saying the talks had
been positive, but stopped short of confirming a deal had been
"The DUP today (Saturday) held discussions with
representatives of the Conservative Party in line with Arlene
Foster's commitment to explore how we might bring stability to
the nation at this time of great challenge," the party said.
"The talks so far have been positive. Discussions will
continue next week to work on the details and to reach agreement
on arrangements for the new parliament."
(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; writing by
Estelle Shirbon; editing by Jason Neely)