United Kingdom leader May strikes tentative deal with N Ireland party


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May looked increasingly vulnerable Sunday after a humiliating election left many members of her own Conservative Party reportedly plotting to force her out.

May's aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, announced on Saturday that they had quit following sustained criticism of the campaign within the party. They formed part of May's small inner circle and were blamed by many Conservatives for the party's lackluster campaign and unpopular election platform, which alienated older voters with its plan to take away a winter fuel allowance and make them pay more for long-term care.

Graham Brady, who chairs the influential 1922 committee of Conservative lawmakers, said there was no public appetite for a second election after May's party failed to win a majority in Thursday's vote.

A Number 10 spokesman said: 'We can confirm that the Democratic Unionist Party have agreed to the principles of an outline agreement to support the Conservative Government on a confidence and supply basis when Parliament returns next week.

May's office has already said that the senior Cabinet members - Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd - will keep their current jobs, but she is expected to reshuffle the lower ranks of ministers.

To stay in power, the Conservatives are seeking support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

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The partnership has proven controversial, due to the DUP's far-right evangelical Christian ethos which has seen them block LGBT rights in Northern Ireland, as well as supporting the region's abortion ban which means women face life in prison for having a termination.

"I think her position is, in the long term, untenable", another Conservative lawmaker, Anna Soubry, tells Sky News.

"We want to do it quickly, respecting the calendar We were waiting for the election in Britain, but in the next few days these talks will begin", she said.

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, told the BBC she had words with May over the DUP's record on LGBT rights. Unfortunately, we now have a Prime Minister who is attempting to cling onto power rather than do what is best for the country.

But the wooing of the DUP risks upsetting the political balance in Northern Ireland by aligning London more closely with the pro-British side in the divided province, where a power-sharing government with Irish nationalists is now suspended.

Speaking to Andrew Marr, Sir Michael also distanced himself from the DUP's conservative stance on social issues.

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Thursday's election result has cast doubt on Britain's position in the upcoming Brexit negotiations, scheduled to begin on June 19.

The new editor of the "Evening Standard" newspaper and close ally of Cameron added: "Cameron took years getting back to office, winning in seats like Bath and Brighton and Oxford and I am angry when we go backwards and I am not afraid to say that".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, riding a wave of acclaim for his party's unexpectedly strong showing, called on May to resign.

But she seems secure for the immediate future, because senior Conservatives don't want to plunge the party into a damaging leadership contest.

"I think everybody wants to see an agreement in the end that does respect what the British people voted for a year ago - makes sure that our cooperation with Europe continues, our trade with Europe continues, our security cooperation with Europe continues", he said. "May fights to remain PM", said the front page of the Daily Telegraph, while the Times of London said: "May stares into the abyss".

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