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Rennie: DUP deal could pose constitutional threat to UK

13 Juin 2017

May, who will chair a meeting of her new Cabinet in the morning, will hear first-hand the anger of rank-and-file members of Parliament who blame her for the catastrophic election campaign that saw the Tories lose their parliamentary majority in Thursday's general election.

Sterling steadied on Monday as British Prime Minister Theresa May scrambled to pick up the pieces and reunite her Conservative Party after a disastrous election that could disrupt Brexit negotiations. "But what I'm doing now is actually getting on with the immediate job - and I think that's what's important". And, if she does, there are major doubts about whether divisions in her own party on the best way to handle Brexit and other critical tasks will lead politicians to rebel and vote against her proposals.

May reappointed most of her ministers on Sunday, including the treasury chief, foreign secretary, defense secretary and home secretary, trying to untie her Conservatives as the loss in the election weakens her position.

She is expected to meet DUP leader Arlene Foster on Tuesday on details of the political arrangement.

But Ruth Davidson, the pro-EU leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, called on May to "reopen" the government's Brexit plans.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, May has lost control over Brexit - the very reason she called an election three years early. On taking the leadership of the Conservative party, one of Theresa May's first acts was to sack Michael Gove from his role at the UK's Department of Justice.

Ms May faced her lawmakers at a meeting of the 1922 Committee on Monday. This evinced an entitled attitude: The polls say I'm going to win, and you don't really have an alternative, because the other guy is a nut.

And it appears the Labour party is in no rush to reshuffle the pack, with sources suggesting they want keep pressure on the Mrs May - whose leadership has come in to question. In just a week's time, talks begin with the European Union over the terms of Britain's exit from the EU. Back then the industry knew the United Kingdom would leave the single market, lose unfettered access to talent in the EU and most likely split from the European Medicines Agency.

"She said 'I'm the person who got us into this mess and I'm the one who is going to get us out of it, '" one Conservative lawmaker said after the meeting.

Weeping Prime Minister Theresa May
Weeping Prime Minister Theresa May

The move might offer hope to Conservative lawmakers who have criticised her style of government.

Instead, May has left those ministers "in-post" and has brought some of her most bitter enemies back into her front-bench team. "I can't say when, but there is going to be".

May has shown little public contrition for the electoral gamble that backfired spectactularly, but was forced to accept the resignations of her two top aides - reportedly a requirement by cabinet colleagues for allowing her to stay in office.

Whoever ends up becoming Britain's new prime minister faces a daunting five years in office, with the negotiations of the country's withdrawal from the European Union topping the list of priorities.

Political rivals of the DUP are adamant the UK Government can no longer cast itself as a neutral facilitator in the process, given Theresa May's intent to form a minority government with the help of a confidence-and-supply deal with the unionist party.

Rennie said: "Theresa May's decision to grasp on to the DUP reveals the depth of her desperation to cling on to power and the fundamental weakness of her position".

There have also been concerns that joining forces with the hardline Protestant party threatens London's neutrality in Northern Ireland, which is key to the delicate balance of power in a province once plagued by violence. "I'm voting DUP", proclaimed the campaign advertisement.

She may have to allay fears that jumping into bed with anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion party may be damaging to the Tory brand.

Mrs May is also likely to be grilled over the botched announcement of the pact with Northern Ireland's DUP - which was later retracted.

Rennie: DUP deal could pose constitutional threat to UK