Talks on DUP support for minority UK govt, to continue
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 7:54
British voters narrowly approved a referendum a year ago to exit the European Union, and Thursday's election raised the prospect that the loss of Conservative seats represented buyers remorse over the Brexit decision.
With the DUP providing the Conservatives a narrow, but crucial, majority in Parliament, it could have an outsized influence. Meanwhile, one LibDem who lost was the party leader, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. But Johnson said he backed May.
May's two leading SPADs, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, took this danger to worrying levels.
The party leader, who appears secure in his post after losing the election but defying predictions of a meltdown, had earlier won praise from former deputy leader Harriet Harman for "confounding expectations".
The change was unlikely to significantly quell unrest within the party.
A lackluster campaign saw her high approval rating slip away, and support for her "hard Brexit" strategy-pulling out of the European single market and customs union-now hangs in the balance. A buoyant Corbyn piled on pressure for May to resign, saying people have had enough of austerity politics and cuts in public spending.
"The UK government is offering whatever support we can, working alongside the Irish government, as appropriate, honouring our respective commitments in the Belfast Agreement to serve the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland", he said.
However, a deal with the DUP also risks destabilizing Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists.
The two parties are said to have made progress in their talks to form a government but some reports indicated that an announcement on a deal might be put off until next week. The DUP is a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and had links to Protestant paramilitary groups during Ireland's sectarian "Troubles".
The turmoil engulfing May has increased the chance that Britain will fall out of the European Union in 2019 without a deal. Whereas Britain's economic losses will be measured in the region of 0.1-4 per cent of GDP, for Northern Ireland that increases to up to 5.6 per cent.
Her party is deeply divided over what it wants from Brexit.
EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said it may now be possible to discuss closer ties between Britain and the EU than May had initially planned, given her election flop.
"I don't believe personally that Theresa May will stay as our prime minister indefinitely", Heidi Allen, a Tory member of Parliament, told LBC Radio.
The pound on Friday fell 1.7 percent against the USA dollar and 1.4 percent against the euro. All the most senior ministers - including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Home Secretary Amber Rudd - kept their jobs and there were few changes in the Cabinet lineup.
The speech, part of the State Opening of Parliament, had been scheduled for Monday. She confirmed this to German leader Angela Merkel in a phone call on Saturday.
Both parties had similar numbers of followers when the election was called, but Labour's following rose from 560,000 to 980,000 before polling day, with big spikes at the start and end of the campaign and after its manifesto launch.
"May won't be able to make any compromises because she lacks a broad parliamentary majority", he said. Only previous year, 172 elected Labour Party members of Parliament (that was out of a total of 232) cast a vote of no confidence that forced Corbyn into a party leadership election which he resoundingly won with over 60% of the votes of dues-paying party members.
She would stay on as prime minister.
The Times newspaper's front page declared that Britain was "effectively leaderless" and the country "all but ungovernable".
May had hoped the election would focus on Brexit, but that never happened, as both the Conservatives and Labour said they would respect voters' wishes and go through with the divorce.
"I felt passionate about voting to make sure Theresa May knew that young people like me would never support her or a Conservative government", said 23-year-old student Janet Walsh, who voted Labour.
Its eurosceptic wing has always been a thorn in the side of Conservative prime ministers.
Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, May said her Conservatives and the DUP will work together to "fulfil the promise of Brexit".
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who took the party from one Scottish seat to 13, said there would now have to be "consensus within the country about what it means and what we seek to achieve as we leave".