Talks to strike deal with DUP 'ongoing', says Downing Street

Theresa May's Conservatives could be hit with a legal challenge over a proposed deal to govern with Northern Ireland's DUP, according to reports.

According to the newspaper, a legal team has found a lead claimant for the case and it will proceed as soon as the deal between the Tories and the DUP is formally announced.

The UK Government has warned that direct rule from London could be reimposed if the local parties fail to reach an agreement before the June 29 deadline.

A hard border is not considered a viable option by either side, given the political sensitivities around preserving the hard-won peace process in Northern Ireland, already under threat from a political crisis that saw the power-sharing government there collapse in January. They did not comment about when they expect a deal, if any, to be sealed.

"Theresa May has no mandate for the direction she is taking the country".

Lawyers are understood to be keen for the judicial review to be heard before the end of this year at the latest.

Grayling said the DUP were not interested in another election and added there should not be a change of prime minister amid questions over May's own position after the botched election campaign and her response to a deadly London tower block fire in which at least 79 people died.

The Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, also accused May of not honouring the Good Friday agreement after meeting the prime minister last week.

It relates to spending on the May 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election.

"We spoke about the very important need for both governments to be impartial actors when it comes to Northern Ireland and that we are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement", he said.

The phrase "rigorous impartiality" and what it implies is likely to be the crucial legal issue to be tested.

Normally in the run-up to a Queen's Speech, Westminster watchers wonder how radical the Prime Minister feels like being - and how much political capital they have available to spend. The concept flows from the complex right of self-determination on which the current British-Irish constitutional compromise is based.

She made clear she was not offering a full coalition with ministerial jobs for DUP MPs, but was seeking a "confidence and supply" arrangement, under which the smaller party would remain outside Government but would ensure its survival by supporting it on financial measures and no-confidence votes.

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