May asks Labour for sup­port in tough times

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Em­bat­tled Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May is urg­ing the op­po­si­tion to help shore up her mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment as it leads the UK out of the EU.

The ap­peal comes nearly a year af­ter May took of­fice, and just over a month af­ter she suf­fered a mas­sive set­back from vot­ers in a snap elec­tion.

May plans to use a speech to­day to urge the op­po­si­tion to help hone pol­icy, say­ing the gov­ern­ment’s ideas can be “clar­i­fied and im­proved” through de­bate and dis­cus­sion. Ex­tracts of the speech were re­leased in ad­vance by May’s of­fice.

May be­came Bri­tish leader on July 13 last year through a Con­ser­va­tive Party lead­er­ship con­test af­ter pre­de­ces­sor David Cameron re­signed when vot­ers de­cided, against his ad­vice, to quit the EU. She called an early elec­tion for June 8 in an at­tempt to bol­ster her ma­jor­ity and strengthen her author­ity dur­ing EU exit talks.

The gam­ble back­fired when vot­ers stripped the Con­ser­va­tives of their ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment and boosted the num­ber of seats held by the Labour Party.

The re­sult means May must rely on deal-mak­ing and com­pro­mises to pass leg­is­la­tion, and is strug­gling to per­suade her party she is not a lame duck.

It has also em­bold­ened op­po­nents of Brexit, who hope to make the gov­ern­ment take a more con­cil­ia­tory line in di­vorce talks with the EU.

The elec­tion set­back has led the gov­ern­ment to aban­don many of the pledges May cam­paigned on, in­clud­ing plans to re­form sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion and make se­niors pay more for their long-term care. In­stead, the gov­ern­ment says it will devote its en­ergy to try­ing to pass the laws needed to pave the way for Brexit – due to take place in March 2019.

Now, May is seek­ing to re­boot her premier­ship, hark­ing back to a prom­ise on her first day in of­fice to “forge a bold new pos­i­tive role for our­selves in the world and… make Bri­tain a coun­try that works not for a priv­i­leged few, but for ev­ery one of us.”

May to­day will urge op­po­si­tion par­ties “to con­trib­ute, not just crit­i­cise”.

“We may not agree on ev­ery­thing, but through de­bate and dis­cus­sion ideas can be clar­i­fied and im­proved and a bet­ter way for­ward found,” she plans to say.

May’s most se­nior cab­i­net min­is­ter, Damian Green, said the speech was an ap­peal for “a grown-up way of do­ing pol­i­tics”. And de­spite ru­mours of Con­ser­va­tive plots to oust May, Green told Sky News “the prime min­is­ter is de­ter­mined to carry on to lead the party and the coun­try for many years”.


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