British prime minister's top aides resign after election fiasco

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn feels he can "still be the prime minister" and indicated today that the United Kingdom could face another election as beleaguered Theresa May's attempt to stitch an alliance to run a minority government after suffering a poll debacle has not yet fructified.

May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday's election.

On Brexit, the DUP supports leaving the European Union but opposes a return to a "hard" border with Ireland - which could happen if May carries through her threat to walk away from the talks rather than accept a "bad deal".

The talks were in line with leader Arlene Foster's "commitment to explore how we might bring stability to the nation at this time of great challenge", the party said in a statement. "Discussions will continue next week to work on the details and to reach agreement on arrangements for the new Parliament".

Britain's typically right-wing press savaged May over the election outcome, questioning whether she will be able to remain in power after a result that leaves her reliant on uniting rival factions within her party to deliver Brexit.

Since the election, most of the members of May's cabinet have kept quiet on the issue of her future, adding to speculation that her days as prime minister are numbered.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne pulled no punches in his assessment of May's chances of survival as the conservative leader, though this may have been payback for his unceremonious dismissal from her cabinet past year. Earlier, Downing Street had said a preliminary agreement had already been secured. "In other words, we could easily get to the middle of next week and it all collapses for her".

An ally of Mr Johnson told the newspaper: "We are facing a populist and they have realised we need someone who can talk to the people".

Mr Johnson said: "Mail on Sunday tripe - I am backing Theresa may. Boris is the only option with the liberal values, Brexit credentials and popular appeal".

This week's election left the Conservatives several seats short of a majority in Parliament, so they are seeking a deal with the Northern Ireland-based DUP, which won 10 seats.

Anand Menon, professor of politics at King's College London, said her lack of a majority made it far more likely that Britain would leave the European Union without a deal.

The new parliament will be sworn in Tuesday, but the real test for May is likely to come on June 19, when MPs are to vote on her programme after it is outlined in parliament by Queen Elizabeth II on June 19.

May announced later that Gavin Barwell - a former housing minister who lost his seat in Thursday's election - would be her new chief of staff.

There is also anger among the party membership over the huge election losses and May's gamble to call a snap general election a full three years ahead of when it would have been officially due in 2020.

The Sunday Times reported that Chancellor Philip Hammond used a telephone call with Mrs May on Friday to tell her she should put jobs first in the Brexit negotiations - a coded attack on the immigration-focused strategy.

  • Leroy Wright