UK Parliament opening date set, suggesting Tory deal reached

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The speech has been delayed as a result of the Prime Minister's failure to gain an overall majority in last week's election, which saw her party lose 12 seats.

A senior Conservative source said talks will continue this afternoon and the State Opening of Parliament has been set for Wednesday.

A "grubby deal" between Conservatives and the DUP is not in the national interest, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Government insiders have also suggested it is possible to give extra investment to Northern Ireland without it affecting the formula for funding the rest of the United Kingdom, indicating a potential investment windfall for Ulster unionists as part of any deal.

The original date for the Queen's speech was also supposed to be the day Brexit negotiations were due to begin in Brussels.

On Wednesday, former prime minister Sir John Major, one of the architects of the peace process, said the Government will compromise its impartiality if it enters a confidence and supply deal with the largest Northern Irish party.

"Both parties are committed to strengthening the Union, combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity across the whole country", the source said.

Colum Eastwood, the leader of the nationalist SDLP, said the government needed to "prove to the rest of us that they are not under the thumb of the DUP".

May is due to host the leaders of all Northern Ireland's parties at Downing Street to talk about the potential implications of any deal with the DUP over power sharing at Stormont.

However Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said they would oppose any deal which undermined the Good Friday Agreement, which commits the United Kingdom and Irish governments to demonstrate "rigorous impartiality" in their dealings with the different political traditions in Northern Ireland.

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