May to meet backbench Tory MPs after election fallout


24 June, 2017

"Now is the time for delivery - and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work".

Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May today held negotiations with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to secure a deal for her Conservatives- led minority government and urged lawmakers to "come together" in the interest of national unity.

The DUP leader declined to give details of what she termed a "positive engagement with the Conservative Party", but said she would be travelling to London late on Monday for discussions with her team of 10 MPs before a meeting with Mrs May at Downing Street on Tuesday.

The atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the May government was heightened when her spokesman James Slack told reporters that Queen Elizabeth II's speech to Parliament setting out the government programme might be moved from the planned date of June 19. Economists and business leaders worry that Britain's departure from the European Union could lead to the return of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"I don't think there's any appetite in the country for a new general election and I don't think there's any demand amongst my colleagues for a leadership election, either", longtime MP Graham Brady told BBC News on Monday.

May's spokesman said it remained government policy to cut net migration to under 100,000 and Brexit Minister David Davis also said walking away without securing a deal with the remaining 27 European Union states remained a possibility.

Ratings agency Moody's and Irish Prime Minister-designate Leo Varadkar also said the election made the opportunity of a "Soft Brexit" more likely, but Davis downplayed the chances of Britain staying in the single market.

MPs returned to Westminster on Tuesday for the new parliamentary session, after May spoke at a crunch 1922 committee meeting in which she apologised to Tory backbenchers for the party's election performance.

But "being seen to be the prime minister" could help "shore up her authority at home", according to Colin Talbot, professor of government at the University of Manchester.

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Davidson, who met May on Monday, wants "a shift in thinking" on Brexit, with more emphasis on the economy and less on reducing immigration numbers, a source close to her told Reuters. The Conservatives won 318 out of 650 seats.

It is thought the Prime Minister is preparing to ditch unpopular policies such as her social care reforms and plans to means test the winter fuel allowance.

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, faced criticism last May for meeting Jackie McDonald, the leader of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Sterling depreciated against its major currency counterparts after the elections: it fell by 1.6% versus the U.S. dollar; it went down by 1.3% against the euro and by 1.1% vis-a-vis the Japanese yen.

"I need a British delegation on the other side of the table, a head of the British delegation that is stable, accountable and that has a mandate", Barnier said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said even though the party opposes same-sex marriage, it is "nonsense" to call the party homophobic.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said the government was not looking at a formal coalition but would seek assurances that the DUP would vote with May "on the big things".

Some have also called into question the United Kingdom government's role as a mediator in the Northern Ireland peace process, with a possible DUP presence in the executive potentially leading to bias during a political vacuum in the region.

A failure to gain support from the Northern Irish party would risk the Queen's Speech being voted down next week, and Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will be pushing hard for that outcome.

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