Mon, Jun 12, 2017 - Page 1 News List

May seeks deal to stay in power

THE WALKING DEAD?A former minister said it is a question of when, not if May goes, while the ‘Guardian’ reports that Trump wants to delay his state visit to Britain

Reuters, LONDON

British Prime Minister Theresa May, second left, with her husband, Philip, second right, attends St Andrew Church in Sonning, Berkshire, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday was seeking a deal with a small Northern Irish party that she needs to stay in power after a disastrous election that destroyed her authority days before Brexit talks are due to start.

British media reported that moves were afoot within May’s Conservative Party to dislodge her, while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who exceeded expectations in Thursday’s vote, insisted she could be ousted and he could replace her.

“Theresa May is a dead woman walking. It’s just how long she’s going to remain on death row,” former Conservative chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, who was sacked by May when she became prime minister, told the BBC.

The Conservatives won 318 House of Commons seats in Thursday’s election, eight short of an outright majority. Labour won 262.

May’s only hope of forming a government is to win support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which won 10 seats. She is seeking a so-called confidence and supply deal, which would involve the DUP supporting the Conservatives on key votes, but not joining a formal coalition.

Her Downing Street office initially announced on Saturday that the “principles of an outline agreement” had been agreed with the DUP, only for the DUP to contradict that account hours later.

Downing Street backtracked, saying she had “discussed finalizing” a deal in the coming week.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told Sky News she would meet May at Downing Street tomorrow.

The political turmoil comes as Britain is due to start negotiating on Monday next week the terms of its exit from the EU.

“The new Cabinet obviously will meet early next week, our view of Brexit I don’t think has changed,” British Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon told the BBC, adding that he believe the government would be able to muster parliamentary support for its Brexit plans.

However, there were early signs that without a parliamentary majority, a weakened May could not count on all of her party’s lawmakers to support her approach.

“I don’t think she does have a majority in the House of Commons for leaving the single market,” said Anna Soubry, a Conservative member of parliament.

Several newspapers said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was being urged by supporters to launch a challenge, but he dismissed the reports as “tripe.”

In other developments, US President Donald Trump’s planned state visit has been postponed after he told May that he did not want to come if there were likely to be large-scale protests, the Guardian reported yesterday.

Citing an unnamed adviser at May’s Downing Street office who was in the room at the time, the newspaper reported on its Web site that the telephone conversation between the two leaders had taken place in recent weeks.

However, Downing Street said there have been no changes.

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