Theresa May completing Cabinet after election disappointment leaves PM weaker
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 11, 2017,
Jun 11, 2017, 22:15
Mrs May was expected to make further appointments to her Cabinet on Saturday, but the damage to Mrs May's standing makes it less likely she will risk alienating colleagues by carrying out an extensive reshuffle as she can not afford to have disgruntled former ministers sniping at her from the backbenches.
The potential deal with the DUP came after Mrs May sent her Chief Whip Gavin Williamson to Belfast for talks after the election left the Tories eight seats short of the 326 required for an outright majority.
Downing Street said that the deal was one of "confidence and supply", meaning the DUP would support the government on key votes with either yea votes or abstention.
While the to-and-fro between Downing Street and the DUP was unfolding, several British newspapers were reporting that some prominent Conservatives, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis, were being urged by supporters to challenge May for the party leadership.
In a statement outside Downing Street, the 60-year-old premier promised to "fulfil the promise of Brexit".
May also reappointed an old adversary - Michael Gove, a former rival for the Conservative leadership whom May fired from the Cabinet when she took office a year ago.
"Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of "no negotiations", Donald Tusk, leader of the EU's ruling council, wrote in a tweet.
This is greatly because May, who was in favour of a hard Brexit may require to team up with Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to reach the magic number to form the government.
She put on a fearless face, refusing to show any contrition for the election gamble that spectacularly backfired, but observers say she has been deeply wounded.
Diplomatic veterans say the Brexit process is as titanic in scale as it is historically unprecedented.
The turmoil engulfing May has increased the chance that Britain will fall out of the European Union in 2019 without a deal.
With the complex talks on the divorce from the European Union due to start in 10 days, it was unclear what their direction would now be and if the so-called "Hard Brexit" taking Britain out of a single market could still be pursued.
The new government and its partners will have to work hard to agree a strategy, although the EU's budget commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, tweeted that the United Kingdom is now a weaker negotiating partner than prior to the election and questioned whether the Brexit negotiations could start on schedule. "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger that the (Brexit) negotiations will turn out badly for both sides". But as the campaign went on, as May grew stiffer and more prone to error, as her "strong and stable" tagline wore thin, a lot of people in the floating center looked at Corbyn and thought, "Is he really that much worse?"
May's authority over her party was shattered by the election result.
"He has been inundated with messages of support", one ally told the paper.
The Prime Minister was forced to perform an unprecedented U-turn within days of the publication of the Tory manifesto by announcing that there would be a cap on social care costs, something that had been absent in the original policy document.
That did not help May, who had overseen cuts in police numbers during six years in her previous job as interior minister.
Despite the crticism for her campaign, Theresa May has refused to quit despite calls from her opponents to consider her position.
Fallon said the DUP would agree to back the Conservatives on big economic and security issues.
Before the election, she had been widely expected to sack finance minister Philip Hammond following a reported clash over her Brexit strategy.
After the election, the Conservative Party had 318 seats, Labour with 262, Scottish National Party with 35 and the Liberal Democrats with 12.
It is too early to say with any certainty what the change from a majority to minority government will mean to Brexit.