United Kingdom hung parliament puts Northern Ireland unionists in the global spotlight

Nick Mcbride
June 12, 2017

Mr Gove, the former Justice Secretary, was ousted in one of Mrs May first acts as Prime Minister after he effectively scuppered the Tory leadership hopes of Boris Johnson by withdrawing his support and announcing his own candidacy.

MPs and ministers also feel they were treated disdainfully by May's two chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, who resigned over the weekend as the PM tried to make concessions.

The pair formed part of May's small inner circle and were blamed by many Conservatives for the party's lackluster campaign and unpopular election platform.

In a resignation statement on the Conservative Home website, Timothy conceded that the campaign had failed to communicate "Theresa's positive plan for the future", and missed signs of surging support for the opposition Labour Party.

"I genuinely think that the people of this country. have had enough of this stuff, I think what they want is. for us to get on, deliver Brexit and deliver on their priorities and Theresa May is by far the best person, and she's the best-placed person to deliver that".

Reports surfaced Saturday that May was nearing a final deal to form a government with the help Democratic Unionist Party, a socially conservative, primarily Protestant bloc based in Northern Ireland.

Numerous key cabinet posts have already been declared as unchanged from the previous government, including Philip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Amber Rudd as home secretary, Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, David Davis as Brexit secretary and Michael Fallon as the in-charge of the ministry of defence.

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

May's position seems safe for the near future because Britain must start negotiations later this month on leaving the European Union, but most British newspapers agreed Saturday that she is only just clinging on.

The election is big news in the city, which has been thrust into the worldwide spotlight after last week's shock election outcome.

Before the election, she had been widely expected to sack finance minister Philip Hammond following a reported clash over her Brexit strategy.

The Prime Minister is facing a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee later on Monday. May had called the election to build upon her majority; instead, the party lost it.

She said: "Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years".

The DUP's social conservatism - it is opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion - has also alarmed some in May's party, particularly Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay.

May will meet with DUP leader Arlene Foster in London on Tuesday as she seeks to secure the support of the party's 10 lawmakers for her program, making up for the Tories' nine-seat shortfall in the Commons.

Northern Ireland is the only remaining part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not legal after the DUP used a controversial veto mechanism to block any change to legislation.

"We don't know when Brexit talks start. It's just how long she's going to remain on death row", Osborne told the BBC.

But journalist Sam McBride from the Belfast News Paper, a publication which is considered to take a pro-union stance, says controversy over the deal will depend on what the DUP demand from Theresa May. She's taking us back to those times.

The Labour leader, who survived an attempt to oust him by his own MPs before the election, now expects that he will be able to attract some of the party's biggest names to serve on his front bench.

Other reports by VgToday

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