Opposition calling on prime minister to step down after not securing a majority
British Prime Minister Theresa May was still fighting for survival on Saturday after a failed election gamble undermined her authority, plunging the country into a major political crisis despite hastily forming a government supported by a small Northern Irish party, the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Members of her Conservative party have warned May her days are numbered after calling Thursday’s vote three years early, only to lose her parliamentary majority days before talks on the UK’s EU departure were due to begin.
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 UK in talks with the EU to secure a successful Brexit deal.
Conservative lawmakers called for May’s joint chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, to be sacked for their key role in the election campaign.
May also undertook to keep senior ministers, saying they would remain in their posts, despite rumours that she had been ready to sack Finance Minister Philip Hammond following a clash over her Brexit strategy.
The Conservatives won 318 seats in Thursday’s vote, down from 331 in the 2015 vote, falling short of an overall majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.
The DUP, which won 10 seats, said it was ready to talk with May about supporting her government, although such an alliance would be far from straightforward.
London’s neutrality in Northern Ireland is key to the delicate balance of power in the province once plagued by decades of unrest.
EU leaders expressed fears that May’s shock loss of her majority would delay the Brexit talks, which are due to begin next week, and so raise the risk of negotiations failing.
Her Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn, once written off by his opponents as a no-hoper, said May should step down because he wanted to form a minority government. Conservative legislator Anna Soubry said she should “consider her position”, while another, Heidi Allen, said she may not last six months.
Reuters, AFP – Staff reporter and
CHANGING FORTUNES Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, and Prime Minister