May seeks help of N. Irish party to form minority government

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

The result has demolished May's political authority, and she has also lost her two top aides, sacrificed in a bid to save their leader from being toppled by a furious Conservative Party.

A surprise resurgence by the Labour Party gave the main opposition party 261 seats, followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party on 34.

The announcement came after May lost Downing St. chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who resigned Saturday.

And the second error Mrs May is guilty of is to believe that all those who voted for the UK Independence Party (Ukip), the anti-EU and anti-immigrant movement, will desert that fringe party and return to the ruling Conservatives' fold, now that the question of leaving the European Union is decided.

Some senior Tories had made the removal of Hill and Timothy a condition for continuing to support May, who has vowed to remain prime minister.

With results in from all 650 House of Commons seats after Thursday's vote, May's Conservatives had 318 - short of the 326 they needed for an outright majority and well down from the 330 seats they had before May's roll of the electoral dice.

"I felt passionate about voting to make sure Theresa May knew that young people like me would never support her or a Conservative government", said 23-year-old student Janet Walsh, who voted Labour.

"It was a disaster", he said.

The seven constituencies won by the Conservatives over Labour with the slimmest majorities were Southampton Itchen (majority 31); Preseli Pembrokeshire (majority 314); Hastings and Rye (majority 346); Chipping Barnet (majority 353); Thurrock (345 majority); Norwich North (majority 507); and Pudsey (majority 331).

May called the snap election confident her Conservative Party would increase its majority and strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks. The first formal negotiations are due to start as early as June 19th. European Union leaders have vowed to make Britain pay a steep price for abandoning them, a process that will take two years. "May sought a mandate". "This is a very bad moment for the Conservative Party, and we need to take stock", Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry said.

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May's snap election call was the second time that a Conservative gamble on the issue of Britain's relations with Europe backfired. Jeremy Corbyn could have been Britain's next Prime Minister - if it wasn't for the performance of the Conservatives in Scotland.

The arrangement with the DUP will make governing easier, but it makes some Conservatives uneasy. The party's opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage places it at odds with modernizing Conservatives.

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.

The result is "exactly the opposite of why she held the election and she then has to go and negotiate Brexit in that weakened position", said Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics university.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the which same-sex marriage is illegal.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster recently denied the party was homophobic. Allen said she couldn't see May hanging on for "more than six months". "When it becomes a matter for me is when people try to redefine marriage".

Still, it's not clear how stable May's deal with the Democratic unionists will prove, especially if it inflames tensions in Northern Ireland, where most voters actually opposed Brexit and wanted to stay in the EU. Farron said May "should be ashamed" and should resign "if she has an ounce of self respect...she called this election expecting a coronation, and took each and every one of us for granted in the most cynical way possible...she has put the future of the country at risk with arrogance and vanity".

Newspaper headlines saw her as just clinging on.

But the biggest question which will preoccupy London observers is Mrs May's own political survival.

"I don't think throwing us into a leadership battle at this moment in time, when we are about to launch into these hard negotiations, would be in the best interests of the country", Evans said.

Other reports by VgToday

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