Theresa May has apologised to Tory MPs for the party’s election performance, telling them “I got us into this mess I’ll get us out of it”.
With a fall from 331 to 318 seats in the House of Commons, May is first tapping the socially conservative Democratic Unionists (DUP) of Northern Ireland (DUP), winners of 10 seats, for an arrangement to keep her minority government in power.
Discussions in Westminster are continuing without Theresa May after she left for Paris for a pre-arranged meeting with newly elected president Emmanuel Macron.
Those talks in Brussels could also be delayed, but the government insist the two-year Brexit timetable would still be adhered to.
After deciding to stay on as British PM despite the disastrous election results, Theresa May on Monday unveiled a largely unchanged new cabinet, which met for the first time in the day.
Mrs Foster declined to give details of what she termed a “positive engagement with the Conservative party“, but said she would be travelling to London late on Monday for discussions with her team of 10 DUP MPs ahead of a meeting with Ms May on Tuesday.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, which saw its number of parliamentary seats and share of the vote increase, said there could be another election this year or early in 2018 after last Thursday’s vote produced no clear victor.
She waved to reporters but would not be drawn on whether a deal would be agreed on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, sources from Downing Street told the channel that talks of a delay in the announcement of the deal were “not coming from us”.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the government should put economic growth at the heart of its Brexit strategy, comments placing her in the camp of those advocating a closer trade relationship with the European Union, or “soft” Brexit.
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 called the election in the first place to win a mandate to pursue a “hard Brexit” – Britain leaving the European Union and severing most current agreements with the bloc, including the customs tax-free single market. 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.
Yesterday, Mrs May finalised her cabinet with the appointment of Michael Gove as Environment Secretary.
After the Labour party made hefty electoral gains by focusing heavily on social issues, Mrs May listed areas such as education and housing as top policy priorities.
Business leaders say any return of the frontier would damage businesses on both sides.
“But she was also resolute and determined in plotting a path over the course of the next five years which will ensure the country emerges stronger and which will ensure that we not only strengthen the economy but also invest more in public services and make sure the quality of people’s lives is enhanced”.
“It is time to stop trying to cling to power and time to admit enough is enough”, said Mr Farron, who branded the possible Tory-DUP deal as a “MayDUP government”.
He stressed he did not share their ultra-conservative views on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, which have caused disquiet among many Conservatives.
Foster will nearly certainly ask for greater investment in Northern Ireland as part of the deal, as well as guarantees on support for pension plans and for winter fuel allowances for older people. Some involved in the Irish peace process are alarmed because the 1998 Good Friday peace accords call for the British government to be neutral in the politics of Northern Ireland.