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British PM Theresa May seeks lifeline after bruising election result

13 Juin 2017

Irish PM designate Leo Varadkar said on Monday that Theresa May's failure to win a majority in last week's election might result in a softer Brexit, as it leaves her more dependent on lawmakers who would favor such a deal.

But after gambling away a majority in parliament in an election she did not need to call, May needs to unite a disillusioned party around her to not only support her in the Brexit talks but also to strike a deal with a small Northern Irish party that will enable her to stay in power. "I am going to be backing her, and absolutely everybody I'm talking to is going to be backing her too", said Johnson, who had been touted as a possible successor to May.

At the same time she has brought in the more emollient figure of Damian Green as First Secretary of State - a title often associated with the role of deputy prime minister - based in the Cabinet Office, in a limited reshuffle of her top team.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier met senior British Brexit official Oliver Robbins in Brussels to discuss arrangements such as dates and the sequencing of talks once they do actually get started. Labour surpassed expectations by winning 262.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Labour will "harry" Mrs May's government by putting down amendments setting out an alternative vision to the Queen's Speech and asking MPs to support them.

Many senior Conservatives say May should stay, for now, to provide stability.

She had come prepared to own up to her mistakes, apologising to the gathered throng just as a few hours earlier she had apologised to the cabinet.

With her government majority at zero, May has no control over Parliament a week away from the Queen's Speech, when new laws are presented, and the scheduled start of Brexit talks.

He acknowledged that the government would be unable to get numerous measures promised in its election platform through Parliament.

Mrs May signalled that she still meant to serve a full term.

The Sinn Féin leader confirmed the party's "magnificent seven" new MPs would not take up seats in Westminster.

"I was in Northern Ireland yesterday and Arlene Foster did say that she hopes there will be a softer Brexit".

Now it seems likely the two parties will agree a "confidence and supply" arrangement rather than a full coalition.

However not everyone is convinced the Conservative-DUP alliance will be so successful.

There are fears among more liberal Conservative MPs that the socially conservative DUP will demand a scaling back of abortion and gay rights - but No. 10 sources have insisted these issues are not on the table.

Again, Theresa May seemed to take it for granted that a deal would be done with them, and she even issued a statement on Saturday saying that this had happened only for the DUP to deny this and say that talks were still progressing.

The Prime Minister's former communications chief Katie Perrior, who left Downing Street when the election was called, attacked the two aides at the weekend for their "rude, abusive, childish behaviour". Withdrawing from the EU's common customs agreement could require customs checkpoints to be set up along the border between the Irish Republic, which is in the European Union, and Northern Ireland, which as part of the United Kingdom will be leaving the bloc.

On June 19, the Queen, in traditional state coach and full regalia, will travel from Buckingham Palace to Parliament to unveil the new government's legislative agenda. The speech will be followed by several days of debate and a vote. On this occasion our votes may not be required to help form a government at Westminster but the implications for politics in Northern Ireland could not be greater'.

"I don't think Theresa May and this government have any credibility", Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror, predicting that there could be another election within months.

The second claim doing the rounds is that Jeremy Corbyn had victory snatched from him and is the prime minister in waiting. "This is still on".

British PM Theresa May seeks lifeline after bruising election result