'Brexit talks to start as scheduled despite losing parliamentary majority'

But an alliance between May and a pro-Union party like the DUP could undermine the confidence of Northern Ireland's Catholics in the process and revive tensions in an area bordering the EU.

"We would restore faith in politics if we could show that this parliament can at least function in presenting a view in the national interest which would command a majority on a cross-party basis", said veteran pro-European Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke.

Britain is welcome to change its mind and stay in the European Union, but it should not expect to keep getting its EU budget rebates or complex opt-outs from EU rules, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator said on Wednesday (14 June), writes Alastair Macdonald.

The Prime Minister needs the votes of the 10 DUP MPs to prop up her minority administration as she hopes to steer government business - including crucial measures on Brexit - through the Commons.

Concerns have been raised that the Government will compromise its impartiality in the region if it enters a confidence and supply deal with the DUP at Westminster.

Her failure to win a majority has put May under pressure over her Brexit plans from inside and outside her party and has prompted complaints about her choice of partner due to the DUP's stance on social issues such as gay marriage.

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 the prospect of a deal has prompted warnings that it could upset Northern Ireland's fragile peace.

Whether the Northern Irish tail will wag the United Kingdom dog remains to be seen but the DUP finds itself, very unexpectedly, in an enormously powerful position.

The Northern Ireland secretary, James Brokenshire, will also be at the Downing Street talks which will build on political discussions that took place Monday in Belfast.

Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance have all made clear Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire can not chair the ongoing process to restore powersharing at Stormont due to their perception he has a conflict of interest.

Despite Downing Street having announced last Saturday that a deal with the DUP had been struck, there are now suggestions that no agreement may be finalised this week.

Several commentators, particularly in the North, have expressed a degree of amusement at the fact that the six counties - largely ignored in both the Brexit and General Election campaigns - have now regained their starring role in Westminster's game of thrones.

He added: "The last thing anyone wishes to see is one or other of the communities [in Northern Ireland] feeling so aggrieved that the hard men that are still lurking in the corners of the community return".

A senior Brussels official said the amount, which compares to London's annual net European Union payment of around 10 billion euros, would still be "peanuts" in terms of the overall economy and also that the final bill would be determined less by technical and legal arguments than by hard-headed political horse-trading. Once done, however, Brexit would be hard to reverse.

"This will continue as long as no one is able to find a workable solution for the border issue".

Understandably, northern nationalists are extremely concerned that, with their new influence, the DUP will seek to scrap numerous concessions nationalists won in the Good Friday agreement.