LONDON (Reuters) - Talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party on a deal to prop up Britain’s minority government in parliament are “progressing in the right way”, the international development secretary, Priti Patel, said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives hope to secure DUP support to pass legislation after losing their parliamentary majority in a June 8 election, and with pivotal negotiations on Britain leaving the European Union getting under way.
“From what I understand with the DUP, the talks are ongoing and they are progressing in the right way as well, so that deal will come to the conclusion at the right time,” Patel told ITV’s Peston on Sunday show.
“I think the reality is that we have key votes coming forward in the next week on the Queen’s Speech and we’ll work with the DUP obviously to ensure that they give us that support.”
The proposed tie-up with the DUP has raised concerns in Conservative ranks over the Northern Irish party’s conservative social policies against abortion and gay marriage.
But Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, told Sky News that such issues would not be part of any deal.
“People can always go back through the archives of any political party and find individuals saying things or policies from 20-30 years ago,” he said. “But they need to read our manifesto and look at the history of recent years in Northern Ireland where the DUP has been the main partner in government with Republicans to move this province forward.”
Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Mark Heinrich