British PM Theresa May apologises to own MPs for 'election mess'

Cameron, gambling that Britons wouldn't want to sever their network of ties with the continent, had promised the Brexit referendum during a 2015 election campaign that gave Conservatives a surprise Parliamentary majority.

The surprising outcome, which sent the pound tumbling, forced May to form a minority government, leaving her reliant on a small group of Northern Irish parliamentarians, just nine days before Britain is due to begin negotiating a deal to leave the EU.

Downing Street has insisted that Thursday's general election - which Theresa May had hoped would strengthen her mandate for negotiations but ended up creating a hung Parliament - will not change the approach to Brexit it set out previous year.

Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron says May “should be ashamed” for calling a snap election and joined calls for her to resign. Johnson - a former Tory leadership contender - denied he was planning a leadership challenge.

There are 650 seats in the British House of Commons, whichever party that wins the majority of seats gets to choose the Prime Minister. Labour's increase in seats from 229 to 261 - with one seat still undecided - confounded expectations that his left-wing views made him electorally toxic. May said after the latest attacks that there was "far too much tolerance" for extremism in British society. But few believe she can hang on for more than a few months.

"I think her position is, in the long term, untenable", Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry told Sky News.

The result calls into question May's future as leader of the party, and the country.

Voters may have been unimpressed with her refrain that "no deal is better than a bad deal" because it raised the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU without a trade-and-immigration system to replace the existing, well-integrated procedures that have evolved over decades of European integration.

May told the British electorate that the election was about strengthening Britain's hand in the tense Brexit negotiations.

"The Tory civil war on the European Union which has ripped it apart since the Maastricht rebellions of the early 1990s, and which the referendum was supposed to solve, is now raging again", said Chris Grey, an academic who specialises in Brexit at Royal Holloway in London. And if the parties can't sync up to form a majority government, there might even be a whole new election.

Speaking at a meeting of the Conservative Party's 1922 committee, the Prime Minister said she would carry on in the job, saying: "I got us into this mess so I'm going to get us out of it".

To stay in power, the Conservatives are seeking support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

Apart from Major, two former Tory leaders also weighed in on the debate.

The DUP party traditionally held a "euroscpetic" stance and backed the Brexit vote.

The alliance makes some modernizing Conservatives uneasy.

The DUP opposes a raft of LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage, freedom from discrimination and same-sex adoption. "The peace process is based on a balance that the British government has made it clear it is neutral in Northern Ireland". The negotiations are set to begin on June 19. The speech will be followed by several days of debate and a vote - and defeat would nearly certainly topple the government.

"Obviously until we have that we can't agree the final details of the Queen's Speech", said May's deputy Damian Green, referring to an agreement with the DUP. Without the amendments, he said Labour would try to vote down the speech.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said May's government lacked the credibility necessary for Brexit talks and should delay the negotiations. "This is still on".

  • Zachary Reyes