Britain's May brings back foe, aiming to unite party before Brexit
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 23:05
Ms May's Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in a humiliating election Thursday and now need the support of the 10 MPs from Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative DUP to pass votes, sparking widespread calls for her to resign. It had earlier said a deal had been reached, but a statement released in the early hours of Sunday morning said an agreement had not yet been finalised.
The decision was met with criticism nearly immediately as abortion rights groups voiced fears over the DUP's record on the issue.
On June 19, the Queen, in traditional state coach and full regalia, will travel from Buckingham Palace to Parliament to unveil the new government's legislative agenda.
But former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said a leadership contest now would be a "catastrophe". Some in the party were advocating Saturday that she at least be allowed to stay on for the next several months to stabilize the country as it heads into Brexit talks.
"Theresa May is a dead woman walking, it just remains to be seen how long she remains on death row", George Osborne, the former United Kingdom chancellor who was sacked by May past year, told the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday.
"I don't think throwing us into a leadership battle at this moment in time, when we are about to launch into these hard negotiations, would be in the best interests of the country", Evans said. Objectives for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations include maintaining the Common Travel Area with the Republic and ease of trade throughout the European Union.
Mrs May's move to reach out to the Democratic Unionists could have a profound impact on her approach to the European Union talks as they favour a "soft Brexit" and the maintenance of an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Mrs May was working on a Cabinet reshuffle, although the election result makes it less likely she will risk alienating colleagues by making wholesale changes as she can not afford to have disgruntled former ministers sniping at her from the backbenches.
She later confirmed she had received assurances from the Conservative leadership that there would be no roll-back of LGBT rights as a result of the DUP alliance.
May's former director of communications, Katie Perrior, had earlier recounted the "terrible" atmosphere at meetings attended by the pair, whom she said showed no respect for other staff or even ministers.
Pressure is now also coming from the public.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, one of May's most loyal supporters, said he disagreed with Osborne's description of her as a "dead woman walking" and he expected Conservative lawmakers to rally behind her.
It was another humiliation for May, and a sign that the socially conservative DUP, with its strong focus on Northern Ireland's specific political complexities, will not necessarily be a compliant partner for her minority government.
The party said: "The DUP today (Saturday) held discussions with representatives of the Conservative Party in line with Arlene Foster's commitment to explore how we might bring stability to the nation at this time of great challenge".
MPs and ministers also feel they were treated disdainfully by May's two chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, who resigned over the weekend as the PM tried to make concessions.