UK's May cracks joke about election disaster

May appeared contrite, sought to apologise for her failed election gamble and gave an explanation of what went wrong.

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He said there was no appetite among the public for a leadership contest which could plunge the party into a fresh general election.

The chaos has also weighed on the pound, which has plunged nearly two percent since Thursday, and the government may have to delay the announcement of its policy plans to parliament.

The Northern Ireland party has come to May's aid after last week's general election left the prime minister eight seats short of the 326 seats needed in the House of Commons to command an overall majority.

The most high-profile challenger who could succeed May is Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and current foreign secretary.

"The people of Britain have had a bellyful of promises and politicking".

DUP leader Arlene Foster is due to see May on Tuesday for crunch talks, which could force the delay of the government's presentation of its legislative program to parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, due on June 19.

Theresa May insisted the Government was "absolutely steadfast" in its commitment to the Northern Irish peace process as she faced questions on whether a DUP-Tory alliance would put fragile agreements at risk.

It was thought the Brexit-supporting Mrs Foster was seeking assurances from Mrs May that she will pursue a softer exit from the European Union as part of her demands.

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Sources also told the BBC that both parties were close to reaching an agreement so that May could form the government but the fire at Grenfell Towers in London made an announcement on the deal on Wednesday "inappropriate".

But Ruth Davidson, the pro-EU leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, called on May to "reopen" the government's Brexit plans. And - while they may be rescheduled - Brexit talks are technically meant to begin in just five days' time.

In the letter, obtained by the Financial Times, he urged ministers to make jobs and the economy their priority in negotiations.

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. However, her governing style is set to change to become more consensus-based and it looks as if the "no deal is better than a bad deal" mantra will be retired. She even gave her former adversary Michael Gove a role in her Cabinet, after firing him a year ago. Instead, she found the opposition Labour Party unexpectedly making a strong second-place showing and national politics thrown into disarray.

"I got us into this mess I'll get us out of it", May told The Conservative Private Members' Committee, or the 1922 Committee, on Monday night.

Speaking straight after a meeting with DUP leader Arlene Foster, the Prime Minister praised the increased diversity in the chamber, noting the record number of LGB MPs as well as the record number of BME MPs, disabled MPs and female MPs.

Sarah Wollaston MP told Sky News: "The reality of having a different arithmetic is that we are going to have a different kind of Brexit negotiation because at the end of it this will come back to Parliament, and Parliament will be voting on it, and that's the same for domestic legislation as well, there is going to have to be a much more consensual approach".

May and Gove had frequently clashed when both were in government, and only last week, when an interviewer asked her about him, May answered dismissively, saying, "I seem to remember Michael was secretary for state for education at one point".

May also promised her MPs that there would be a "more open door policy" towards backbenchers.

  • Adam Floyd