Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

UK to double length of next Parliament to deal with Brexit

The Queen's Speech will take place next Wednesday, the government has announced.

Brexit secretary David Davis will travel to the Belgian capital for talks with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

The Prime Minister will on Wednesday launch a two-year parliamentary session rather than the traditional one-year session, in order to give MPs and peers more time to scrutinise Brexit legislation.

The Conservatives delayed this year's Queen's Speech as the party held discussions with the DUP to agree a deal on propping up the minority government.

It comes amid growing pressure on Mrs May over her future as Prime Minister.

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It is seen as a critical test for the Government and failure to win the backing of a majority of MPs is seen as a vote of no confidence.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, also referred to as the Belfast Agreement, requires the United Kingdom and Irish Governments to show "rigorous impartiality" as they deal with the different political groups in Northern Ireland.

"I want to record my deep-seated concern and, I believe, the deep-seated concern of many, not just in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom right now, at the prospect of some sort of grubby deal between the Tories and the DUP to allow Theresa May to cling to office", she said.

Brokenshire insisted the government would honour its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement and warned that time was running out if powersharing was to be restored and a return to direct rule from Westminster avoided.

"We are not turning our backs on Europe", he said in the statement.

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Britons shocked themselves and their neighbours by voting on June 23 past year to cut loose from their main trading partner. Barnier, a keen mountaineer, spent the weekend in his native Alps "to draw the strength and energy needed for long walks".

"There is very little time left".

The parties have reached "broad agreement" on the principles of the speech.

Tories admit their lame duck leader is doomed following her disastrous election campaign and shaky reaction to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

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.

Sinn Fein have warned that any deal with the DUP could wreck the Northern Ireland peace process.

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A senior Conservative source told AFP that the party was "confident" it would have enough parliamentary votes to pass the Queen's Speech, but the deal with the DUP has not been finalised yet.

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