United Kingdom prime minister's top aides resign after election fiasco

The DUP say talks with the Conservative Party over supporting a minority government will continue next week.

Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill were Theresa May's closest advisers.

Theresa May is attempting to form a government with the help of the Democratic Unionist Party, after failing to win a majority in Thursday's election.

The Conservatives won 318 House of Commons seats in the election, eight short of an outright majority. At the start of the campaign, she was enjoying poll leads of 20 points or more over the main opposition Labour Party.

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.

May's Downing Street office had announced on Saturday that the "principles of an outline agreement" with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had been agreed, only for the DUP itself to cast doubt on that account hours later.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Chief Whip is in Belfast holding talks with the DUP on how best they can provide support to the Government".

A petition against May's deal with the DUP had attracted almost 600,000 signatures on June 10 as chances of an agreement increased.

The DUP was founded in the 1970s by the late firebrand preacher Ian Paisley, and in the 1980s was a key player in the "Save Ulster from Sodomy" campaign, which unsuccessfully fought against the legalization of gay sex.

Although she had apologised to all MPs who lost their seats, May, speaking on the doorstep of her official Downing Street residence, on Friday said government would provide certainty and lead the United Kingdom in talks with the European Union to secure a successful Brexit deal.

The Northern Irish party have repeatedly opposed and blocked moves to legalise same-sex marriage in the country's devolved assembly.

So who are they?

In 2008, DUP MP Iris Robinson, the wife of then party leader and First Minister Peter Robinson, described homosexuality as an "abomination" that made her feel "sick" and "nauseous".

She added: 'I could not care less what people get up to in terms of their sexuality, that's not a matter for me - when it becomes a matter for me is when people try to redefine marriage'.

"I was fairly straightforward with her and I told her that there were a number of things that count to me more than party".

May's party had a net loss of 12 seats in Thursday's election, which May called in April in order to bolster her majority status and secure a stronger mandate to begin Brexit negotiations.

  • Salvatore Jensen