May under fresh pressure as top aides quit
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 11, 2017,
Jun 11, 2017, 16:17
British Prime Minister Theresa May's closest advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill have resigned following the Conservatives' loss in the snap general elections held on 10 June.
The aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, served as May's co-chiefs of staff and resigned Saturday.
In an effort to shore up her position in Number 10 the Prime Minister has sent her Chief Whip to Belfast for talks with the Democratic Unionist Party ahead of the first test of her diminished authority when Parliament returns.
Mr Timothy said he took responsibility for his part in the campaign, including his role in the so-called "dementia tax", which would have seen more people pay for the cost of their social care.
The DUP's opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion has also alarmed some in May's party, particularly Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay.
It said the campaign failed to get "Theresa's positive plan for the future across" or "notice the surge in Labour support, because modern campaigning techniques require ever-narrower targeting of specific voters, and we were not talking to the people who chose to vote for Labour".
"I would like to make clear that the freakish media reports about my own role in the policy's inclusion are wrong: it had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project", he added.
The humiliating result has heaped pressure on May to resign, but she says she will stay and lead Britain during exit talks with the European Union. "More likely, she is steeling herself to provide what continuity she can as her party girds itself for an election to replace her". Few senior Tory members have publicly backed May and some have referred to her as an "interim leader" since the results were announced.
Barwell was one of the Conservative lawmakers who lost his seat in Thursday's election, which saw the party lose its parliamentary majority.
May's office has already said that the senior Cabinet members - Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd - will keep their current jobs, but she is expected to reshuffle the lower ranks of ministers.
After recalling one such moment over how to campaign during the Copeland by-election, she wrote: "Normally we would all sit there while Fiona would raise some bat**** insane idea and not say a word".
But Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said the PM's advisers had "taken the fall" for her but tweeted the PM was "responsible for her own defeat".