Tory-DUP deal 'possible tomorrow' as Arlene Foster returns to London for talks
DUP leader Arlene Foster has said she hopes to seal a deal with Theresa May in the coming days as she arrived back in London for talks on a tie-up with the Tories.
The two parties have been wrangling about a so-called ‘confidence and supply’ deal for two weeks after the Prime Minister lost her Commons majority at the general election.
Such an arrangement would see the Northern Irish party back the Conservatives in key votes - thereby propping up Mrs May’s minority government.
DUP sources have told the Guardian a deal could be in place as early as tomorrow, with one saying: “It’s still game on.”
Ms Foster told Sky News: “We're back in London again and my hope is that we will be able to finalise the deal between ourselves and the Conservative party.”
She insisted forging an alliance with the Tories would not jeopardise the process of getting a functioning power-sharing agreement at Stormont back on track.
The unionists and Sinn Fein had a bitter falling out over a botched green energy scheme and there has been no executive in Northern Ireland since March.
Ms Foster said: "I think that this agreement will bring the prospects of doing a deal at Stormont closer because this will have a positive impact in relation to Northern Ireland.
"I very much hope that this week we will be able to conclude on two agreements."
She also insisted any deal with the Tories would be “fully transparent”, after Labour demanded to know the financial implications of any pact.
Yesterday former Tory chairman Lord Patten said the Conservatives would look like the “nasty party” if they were propped up by the “toxic” DUP.
The DUP have come under close scrutiny for their opposition to abortion and gay marriage as well as their scepticism about climate change.