'Ireland's interests are the Eu's interests' in Brexit talks, says Simon Coveney

Asked when the proposed confidence and supply arrangement the DUP will be signed off, she said discussions with the party were ongoing.

Sky quoted the sources as saying the DUP is urging May's government to give "greater focus" to the negotiations and that the DUP "can't be taken for granted".

A day before setting out her legislative measures in the Queen's Speech, Theresa May has yet to secure a deal with the DUP to allow her Government programme to survive a Commons vote.

The independent Commission say they are satisfied that the issue was a result of "duplication", as the candidates who were supposed to report the figure also did so.

The continuing delay raises the prospect that the Queen's Speech will go ahead on Wednesday without a deal with the DUP in place.

The ruling Tories need the backing of the 10 DUP MPs to form its minority government following a hung Parliament verdict in the June 8 snap general election.

Speaking in Downing Street alongside Mr Varadka, Mrs May dismissed these concerns as she claimed her government "remains absolutely steadfast" in its commitment to upholding the Good Friday Agreement.

After initial signs of progress, the Conservatives were forced to row back on a premature announcement that agreement had been reached, and talks have now dragged on for 11 days without reaching a conclusion.

The comments were seen as a coded reference to the party's opposition to scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions and means testing the winter fuel allowance - both of which were in the Conservative manifesto.

A spokesperson for Number 10 has said talks are continuing.

Lawyers are believed to have found a lead claimant to fight the case, similar to the role that the investment banker Gina Miller had when she won a supreme court ruling ordering ministers to introduce emergency legislation to authorise Britain's departure from the European Union in January.

The remarks came after warnings by the nationalist Sinn Fein and SDLP and the cross-community Alliance Party that a deal with the DUP would undermine the Government's attempts to restore the powersharing executive at Stormont.

"In a commentary last week, Colin Harvey, professor of human rights law at Queen's University, Belfast, wrote: "'Rigorous impartiality'... is central to the Good Friday agreement and to the British-Irish agreement (an global treaty between the United Kingdom and Ireland).

  • Jon Douglas