The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Conservative party have completed a deal which will see the DUP prop up a minority Tory government.
Arlene Foster was greeted by Theresa May at Downing Street shortly after 10.30am.
The agreement was signed inside Downing Street by Tory chief whip Gavin Williamson and the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, while May and Foster watched on.
Mrs May signed the deal while her own future is under intense discussion within the Conservative party following her decision to call a disastrous snap election earlier this month.
Speaking inside Number 10, the British Prime Minister said: “As we set out at the beginning of the talks, we share many values in terms of wanting to see prosperity across the UK, the value of the union, the important bond between the different parts of the United Kingdom.
“We very much want to see that protected and enhanced and we also share the desire to ensure a strong government, able to put through its programme and provide for issues like the Brexit negotiations, but also national security issues.
“So the agreement we have come to is a very, very good one, and look forward to working with you.”
Mrs Foster added: “We’re delighted that we have reached this agreement, which I think works, obviously, for national stability.” She said her party wanted to see the collapsed Six County administration “back in place as soon as possible”.
It is understood that the details of the package have not been released in full.
The public elements include a special package for former and current British soldiers in the north of Ireland, a financial injection for the ailing Six County economy and a statement offering credit to the DUP for a Tory u-turn on pension and winter fuel payment.
The duration is “for the length of the parliament”.
The agreement has been bitterly opposed by British progressives as well as sections of their establishment, including from within the Conservative party. Chris Patten, a former Tory party chairman, warned that the DUP is “toxic” and would make the Conservatives a ‘nasty party’, borrowing the words of Theresa May herself
Sinn Fein have not yet commented.
A ‘deadline’ for Stormont talks falls this Thursday, but this is likely to be pushed back once again as the parties in the North digest the significance of the Tory-DUP pact.