May's top aides resign after UK election fiasco

Jerome Frank
June 13, 2017

May earlier on Saturday lost her two closest aides as she struggled to reassert her leadership after a crushing election setback.

British Prime Minister Theresa May reached an "outline agreement" on Saturday with the ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party in order to be able to govern after a humiliating election that has left her authority in tatters.

A party spokesman confirmed Hill had also resigned. With just 10 members of Parliament, the DUP doesn't wield much power on its own - but those seats, if they vote with May's party, have the power to push the Conservatives over the threshold to a functioning government.

But he wrote on the ConservativeHome website: "The reason for the disappointing result was not the absence of support for Theresa May and the Conservatives but an unexpected surge in support for Labour". Labour, the main opposition party, won 262.

They were replaced by Gavin Barwell, a former housing minister who lost his seat in the election.

In her post-election reshuffle, May said she appointed ministers that reflect "the wealth of talent and experience across the Conservative Party".

Knighted after he helped steer David Cameron to victory in 2015, Sir Lynton was involved not with the flawed Conservative policy manifesto but the polling and some of the media messaging, in a campaign where Mrs May remained aloof, and shunned the media and TV debates.

In a statement after returning from Buckingham Palace, where she received the Queen's permission to form a government, May shrugged off a growing backlash in the Conservative Party, and said she would provide the "certainty" the country needed, The Guardian reported. They quit Saturday after becoming a focus of blame for the Conservatives' election disaster.

She said Brexit talks would begin on June 19 as scheduled, the same day as the formal reopening of parliament.

May wanted to win explicit backing for her stance on Brexit, which involves leaving the EU's single market and imposing restrictions on immigration while trying to negotiate free trade deal with the bloc.

May's top aides resign after UK election fiasco
May's top aides resign after UK election fiasco

Defence Minister Michael Fallon said on Sunday the cabinet would meet "early next week". "May sought a mandate".

The protest moved to outside the gates of Downing Street, where they were met by a wall of uniformed police officers, as bemused tourists posed for selfies nearby.

The resignations of Mr Timothy and Ms Hill, on whom Ms May has been heavily reliant since her previous job at the interior ministry, will be a personal blow. May's office has said that the most senior Cabinet members - including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd - will keep their jobs, but she is expected to shuffle the lower ranks of ministers.

The DUP was founded in the 1970s by the late firebrand preacher Ian Paisley, and in the 1980s was a key player in the "Save Ulster from Sodomy" campaign, which unsuccessfully fought against the legalization of gay sex. Conservative Party loyalists urged her to change her leadership style, while critics talked about her days being numbered.

Ms Hill said it had been a pleasure to serve in government and she believed Mrs May would continue as prime minister.

"I think her position is, in the long term, untenable", another Conservative lawmaker, Anna Soubry, tells Sky News. "I and other colleagues have made that clear to her". "When it becomes a matter for me is when people try to redefine marriage".

The party is seeking support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to stay in power.

The Times newspaper's front page declared "May stares into the abyss".

But former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said a leadership contest now would be a "catastrophe", while his predecessor William Hague said: "Voters do not want further months of uncertainty and upheaval".

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Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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