(Reuters) British Prime Minister Theresa May neared a deal with a Northern Irish Protestant party to save her premiership on Tuesday as she came under intense pressure to soften her approach to Brexit days before the start of formal EU divorce talks.

May's botched election gamble, which saw her lose her parliamentary majority, left her so weakened that supporters of closer ties with the European Union publicly demanded she take a more consensual and business-friendly approach to Brexit.

In an attempt to avoid a second election that could deepen Britain's worst political turmoil since last June's shock vote to leave the EU, May held talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on Tuesday.

She met DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose eurosceptic Northern Irish party has 10 parliamentary seats, for over one hour of talks in Downing Street, though both May and Foster later left through different exits.

"Discussions are going well with the government," Foster said on Twitter. "We hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion."

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment.

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