THE BLEED­ING

Op­po­si­tion call­ing on prime min­is­ter to step down af­ter not se­cur­ing a ma­jor­ity

CityPress - - News -

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

PHO­TOS: REUTERS

CHANG­ING FOR­TUNES Theresa May Jeremy Cor­byn, leader of the UK’s op­po­si­tion Labour Party, and Prime Min­is­ter

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