LONDON (Reuters) – A deal to prop up British Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government is not likely this week, though talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support her government are continuing, a DUP source told Reuters.
After May lost her majority in Parliament with a botched gamble on a snap June 8 election, she is trying to secure the backing of the DUP’s 10 lawmakers, though talks have dragged on for nearly two weeks.
While the details are still to be thrashed out, a deal is considered likely.
The DUP knows a deal with May is its best chance to secure extra cash for Northern Ireland, while the Conservatives know that the DUP do not want risk a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, who has appeared beside Sinn Fein leaders in the past.
When asked whether a deal would be finalised this week, the DUP source said: “It does not look likely.”
“Talks are continuing,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
DUP sources said on Tuesday (June 20) that May’s party needed to give greater focus to discussions and added that the DUP could not be taken for granted.
While the two parties are largely aligned on domestic issues and Brexit, the talks have snagged on the extent of financial support that Northern Ireland will get as part of any deal, according to sources.
One issue that has caused friction in talks is air passenger duty – an excise duty on passengers flying from airports in the United Kingdom – which the DUP want to be scrapped so that Belfast can compete with Dublin’s airport.
In its manifesto, the DUP said it would pursue the abolition of air passenger duty and cut value added tax for tourism businesses.