UK leader May seen fighting for survival after election failure

10 Juin, 2017, 22:46 | Author: Lucrece Courtet

May, who became prime minister after the June 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union, had called the election three years early in a bid to strengthen her hand in the looming Brexit negotiations. Some market watchers believe that "she would attempt to form a government even if her party loses its majority".

The Conservatives' losses were largely gains for the Labor opposition, which defied polls and predictions to gain 29 seats - a vindication for leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose grip on the party appears to have strengthened. After being granted approval, May is now moving to form a minority government with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The DUP, which increased its number of seats to 10, said it was working on a deal with the Tories whereby it would support them on a vote-by-vote basis.

After a meeting with Britain's Queen Elizabeth, May promised to keep pushing forward to "fulfill the promise of Brexit". Conservatives continue to be the largest party in the UK.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Britain on Friday to quickly launch Brexit talks, saying "We are ready for the negotiations".

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker added he hoped there would not be "further delay" in the talks that "we are desperately waiting for".

European leaders have ramped up the pressure on Theresa May over Brexit insisting the talks on EU withdrawal must begin as soon as possible. Following the Brexit referendum, the snap polls represent the second disastrous election called by a Tory PM in two years.

For Mrs May, the outcome can only be read as an erosion of confidence in her ability to steer the United Kingdom through the choppy waters of Brexit.

Tusk spelt out the problem on Twitter: "We don't know when Brexit talks start. And that's unfortunate, because there are things going on in the world where we could use their help, especially diplomatically, but the prime minister now doesn't have the credibility". "Do your best to avoid a "no deal" as result of "no negotiations". "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger that the (Brexit) negotiations will turn out badly for both sides".

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Now, having suffered the nearly unthinkable ignominy of losing the majority she seemed certain to extend, Ms May's first response shifted from the inane to the delusional.

But she came under fire for a lacklustre, soundbite-driven performance on the campaign trail and a damaging U-turn on healthcare policy. Many analysts said it was unlikely May could remain leader for long now that her authority has been eroded. In the final days Corbyn hammered May for cutting 20,000 police officers - an assertion that carried weight as major terrorist attacks hit Manchester and London.

In the big book of political blunders, Theresa May's decision to hold a snap election to solidify her Brexit mandate will rank among the most memorable - and the most unnecessary.

PARKER: It's a really odd one because it wasn't just the opinion polls.

Former Conservative minister Anna Soubry added that the premier "is in a very hard place. she now has to obviously consider her position". The tabloid Sun said succinctly: "She's had her chips".

Had the Conservatives seized five seats including Dudley North, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Crew and Nantwich and Canterbury from Labour - seats where Mr Corbyn's party won by a small margin - Theresa May would have gone into Brexit negotiations with a majority in the Commons.

Theresa May and her supporters will argue - no doubt in parrot fashion - that the Conservatives won a share of the vote not seen by the party since Margaret Thatcher was in her pomp.

May sought to frame the campaign around her personal leadership heading into Brexit, but this was undermined by public performances derided as robotic.

The Conservative Party is ruthless with losers.

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