Theresa May has signalled she will publish her Queen’s Speech programme for government with or without an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Senior Tory sources said that the PM had agreed with Her Majesty that the State Opening of Parliament will now take place on Wednesday June 21.
The date was originally set for June 19, but failure to finalise a deal with the DUP - to help prop up May’s minority Government - has led to a delay.
Party sources refused to rule out the Conservatives running a government without support of the Northern Ireland party and its 10 MPs.
But they stressed that there was “broad agreement” between the two parties on “principles” behind the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the list of bills to enact Government policy for the coming year.
The Tory source said: “Following the prime minister’s regular audience with the Queen, we can confirm that the Queen’s speech will be held on 21 June.
“Talks with the DUP are progressing well and there is broad agreement on the principles of the Queen’s speech.
“Both parties are committed to strengthening the union, combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity across the whole country.
“However, whilst talks are ongoing, it is important the government gets on with its business and we are confident there will be sufficient support across the House for passing the Queen’s speech.”
Several Tory MPs are furious at being linked to the DUP’s religiously conservative views on homosexuality and abortion and have suggested that the PM should “stare down” the Ulster party and rule without them.
Others, such as former premier Sir John Major, have warned that any formal arrangement would undermine the fragile Northern Ireland peace process.
In announcing the new date, May has effectively ‘bounced’ the DUP into supporting her next week.
But she has also forced a change in the Queen’s diary as the Monarch had been due to attend Royal Ascot horse races on June 21.
May appears to be confident that the DUP will not vote against her Queen’s Speech, even if it cannot finalise a formal agreement, because it does not want Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister.
Sources suggested that while the slimmed-down programme of bills had been agreed, there remains sticking points in inter-party talks for a “confidence and supply” deal to keep May in power.
Such a deal involves the minor party agreeing to support the Government in confidence votes, and in ‘supply’ votes to pass financial orders to keep Whitehall and departments running.