London fire could delay deal between UK PM May's Conservatives and DUP

Prime Minister Theresa May has made a joke at her own expense as Britain's House of Commons got underway - a reflection of her new humility following a disastrous snap election in which she lost her majority.

She reportedly apologised to Tory MPs, accepting personal responsibility for failing to win an outright victory and sacrificing the parliamentary majority she inherited from David Cameron when she became leader after the Brexit referendum previous year.

The Prime Minister held talks with Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP on Tuesday, with a view to a "confidence and supply" agreement, in which the smaller party would support the Conservatives on budgetary and confidence votes.

"Discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion", Ms Foster said after the meeting.

Mrs May will herself meet French president Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday for talks.

May is coming under intense pressure to change her approach to leaving the European Union, with predecessors David Cameron and Sir John Major among those suggesting a softer stance with a greater effort to seek a consensus.

However, he added that once it was done, Brexit would be hard to reverse.

A lack lustre campaign saw her high approval rating slip away, and support for her "hard Brexit" strategy pulling out of the European single market and customs union now hangs in the balance.

Northern Ireland has been without a powersharing executive since March and without a first and deputy first minister since January.

May will also be reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the Eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

But a deal with the DUP also risks destabilising Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro- British unionists, who have struggled for years with nationalists.

Foster will nearly certainly ask for greater investment in Northern Ireland as part of the deal, as well as guarantees on support for pension plans and for winter fuel allowances for older people.

Sources say delay over Govt deal with DUP not cos talks are "stuttering" - 95% agreed between both sides.

"This new arrangement is very unsettling and people are concerned and anxious about what it may mean", Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP. "There's a lot of anxiety", Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP.

The EU will keep the door open for Britain to return, but only on worse terms than it now has, European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said Wednesday (14 June).

"It's passing quicker than anyone believes..." He said: "If they ask for money, how is that going to be received in Wales, Scotland or amongst the "just about managings" across the United Kingdom?" "I can't negotiate with myself", he told the Financial Times newspaper.

"The door of course is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded", he said.

The European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, also expressed his frustration.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, warned Tuesday that "the current uncertainty can not continue" and on Wednesday issued five "pressing questions" on Twitter.

Despite the uncertainty over her ability to govern, May had confirmed that Brexit negotiations - expected to be the most complex worldwide talks Britain has held for decades - would begin as planned next week.

Related News: