British Prime Minister Theresa May's hopes of a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to shore up her minority government hit a setback, as the DUP warned that a deal was "certainly not imminent".
A DUP source said that talks with Mrs May's Conservatives "haven't proceeded in a way that the DUP would have expected" and cautioned that the party "can't be taken for granted".
The development came just a day ahead of the Queen's Speech, and threatens to leave Mrs May uncertain of her ability to secure a Commons majority for her government's legislative programme for the coming two years.
But the source said agreement before tomorrow’s State Opening of Parliament could not entirely be ruled out if there was movement in the talks between the parties.
The DUP is urging the government to give "greater focus" to the negotiations.
A Downing Street spokesman would say only that talks were "ongoing".
It is thought that the DUP is asking for more investment for Northern Ireland as part of the price of its support, and the party also wants the retention of the triple lock guarantee on pensions and winter fuel allowances for older people.