Irish PM holds separate talks with leaders of Northern Ireland parties

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement - a major development in the Northern Ireland peace process - commits the United Kingdom and Irish Governments to demonstrate "rigorous impartiality" in their dealings with the different political traditions in Northern Ireland.

It follows warnings - including from former prime minister Sir John Major - that the Government will compromise its stated impartiality in the province if it enters a confidence and supply deal with the DUP at Westminster.

The pound rose after the Bank of England came its closest in a decade to raising interest rates to counter higher prices after Britain's vote to leave the European Union - a move that could further squeeze Britons with big mortgages.

Sinn Fein has said it does not want the DUP to put forward its leader Arlene Foster as first minister until the results of a corruption probe are finalised.

A secret deal outlining what would happen in the event of a hung Parliament was drawn up between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) following the 2015 general election, a leaked document has revealed.

"They will want to get whatever they can out of the Government for Northern Ireland and will go in with the approach of "make us an offer", then "make us another offer" until they are happy".

Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP, Northern Ireland's second-largest Irish nationalist party, said his party had a "positive" meeting with the prime minister over her efforts to come up with a deal with the DUP.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, in Downing Street for talks with Mrs May on restoring powersharing in Northern Ireland, refused to be drawn on how the negotiations were progressing.

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Although there are likely to be some tensions between the Conservatives and the DUP, the two parties have now agreed broad consensus that will give May just enough room to run a government, although nothing like the way she wanted when she called the snap election.

Despite the failure to sign-off an agreement with the DUP, the Tories are pressing ahead with the state opening of parliament, which will now take place next Wednesday, having been delayed for two days.

Gerry Adams said Sinn Féin had told Mrs May "very directly" she was in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

While the DUP continue to hammer out the details of the arrangement with the Tories, the other four main parties at Stormont confirmed they would be meeting Mrs May on Thursday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is planning to set out his party's own programme for government in a substantial amendment to the Queen's Speech, and will urge all other parties to back it in an attempt to topple Mrs May and form a minority Labour administration.

At a press conference with May, Macron said the door was "always open" for Britain to remain in the European Union as long as the negotiations on Brexit have not finished.

"They can't have it both ways, it has to be dealt with sensibly", she said.

May left Downing Street without responding to reporters' questions on whether an agreement had been reached with the DUP, which is needed to help the Conservatives command the majority they lost in last week's election. Negotiations are due to start on Monday.

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