UK's Theresa May holds talks to seal government alliance

(Niall Carson/PA via AP).

DUP leader Arlene Foster has indicated a deal to support the Conservatives' minority government is close to being finalised.

The discussions, which have so far lasted for nearly two hours, have now moved from No 10 to Parliament in order for the Prime Minister to speak in the Commons.

She made a self-depreciating joke after John Bercow was re-elected as the Speaker, quipping: "At least someone got a landslide".

Instead, she found the opposition Labour Party unexpectedly making a strong second-place showing and national politics thrown into disarray.

Though Foster supported Brexit, she also might demand that May pursue a cushioned exit from the European Union, given her party's wish that a soft border remain between Northern Ireland and Ireland, an European Union member.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn countered with a bit of previously unforeseen swagger, wearing a huge red rose - his party's symbol - in his lapel as he sparred with May.

As Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, noted on Monday, the outgoing Irish prime minister, or taoiseach, Enda Kenny, called the British prime minister over the weekend to express his concern that her new alliance could disrupt their efforts to get the legislature in Belfast back on track.

"They would see it as the government paying cash for votes in parliament, and in doing so I think that could well cost votes in the country for the Conservative party, by the bucketload, at a subsequent election", he said. May is going to Paris later in the day.

"I hope that we can reach a conclusion sooner than later". The party is pushing hard for increased investment in the region; a demand that a former Conservative prime minister said could create a headache for May's government.

Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds entered Downing Street at around 12:40 p.m. (1140 GMT, 7:40 a.m. EDT).

May held talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on Tuesday in a bid to avoid another election.

There was a "danger", he said, that the United Kingdom government - required under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement to be an impartial broker in power-sharing arrangements between unionists and republicans in Northern Ireland - would not be seen by Sinn Féin and Northern Irish republican communities to be performing that role if they were "locked into a parliamentary deal, at Westminster", with the DUP.

One of British Prime Minister Theresa May's predecessors has warned that her plan to stay in power after losing her parliamentary majority risks the "fragile" peace in Northern Ireland.

The talks with the DUP follow May's apology to Conservative rank-and-file lawmakers in a meeting Monday that signaled she would be more open to consultation, particularly with business leaders demanding answers about the details on Britain's departure from the European Union.

His bullish tone - attacking the Tory party as "anti-worker, anti-disabled people, anti-pensioner and anti-young people" - poured cold water on suggestions from another Tory grandee, former Foreign Secretary William Hague, that May should consider cross-party working, especially on Brexit, to shore-up her authority. The Evening Standard, edited by ex-Treasury chief George Osborne, reported that Cabinet ministers have initiated talks with Labour lawmakers to come up with a "softer", less hard-line divorce from the EU.

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