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The two women who saved Theresa May could yet be her undoing

13 June 2017

A stream of senior lawmakers entered her office at 10 Downing St. on Sunday afternoon, to learn what roles they had been given in government.

But fellow Tory MPs have backed her leadership, including Johnson, who denied he is seeking to topple May.

Several newspapers said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had been urged by supporters to launch a leadership challenge, but he called such reports "tripe" in a tweet, saying he backs Mrs May. "What I'm feeling is that actually there is a job to be done and I think what the public want is to ensure that the government is getting on with that job", May said in an interview with Sky News. "Let's get on with the job", he said.

This weekend, she has been seeking the support of the Democratic Unionist Party to form a new government after a disappointing result for Conservatives in Thursday's election.

May is due to begin Brexit negotiations with Brussels on June 19 in a weaker position than before the June election.

The snap election backfired for May, who lost 13 seats and an overall Conservative majority while the centre-left Labour camp climbed by 30 parliamentary seats, completely contradicting early poll predictions. Labour surpassed expectations by winning 262.

Former finance minister George Osborne, who May sacked after taking office following the historic Brexit vote last June, on Sunday said May was now a "dead woman walking".

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Former party leaders have warned any immediate leadership challenge would be too disruptive, but most commentators believe May can not survive in the long-term.

It's just a question of, Osborne told Sky News, "how long she is going to remain on death row".

The chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, echoed this view and said that a more inclusive approach is a "necessity". 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.

"We have made good progress but the discussions continue", DUP leader Arlene Foster said.

"The Prime Minister has tonight spoken with the DUP to discuss finalising a confidence and supply deal when Parliament returns next week".

He said the two parties did not agree on everything but that the Tories were looking for DUP support on "big issues" such as the economy and security. That means the DUP will back the government on key votes, but it's not a coalition government or a broader pact.

The leader of the Democratic Unionists has pledged to exercise the party's enhanced influence at Westminster responsibly. The DUP is a socially conservative pro-British Protestant group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and once appointed an environment minister who believes human-driven climate change is a myth.

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Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny yesterday expressed concern that a proposed alliance between the Conservatives and the DUP could pose a "challenge" to peace in the province, in a phone call with Mrs May.

The divorce issues include the rights of European Union citizens in Britain as well as United Kingdom citizens in the European Union, how much Britain will have to pay to cover previous spending commitments and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"They want to use Brexit to attack the British government, but how can they do that if they are in a regional government that is helping to negotiate the terms of Brexit?"

But he said his party would seek to vote down May's Queen's Speech, or program for government, when she presented it to parliament, and another national election might be needed to break the deadlock.

Corbyn said his party would put down a "substantial amendment to the Queen's speech" based on the main policies in its general election manifesto, with an emphasis on Brexit, young people, and austerity. He told the Sunday Mirror: "This is still on".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday said he can "still be prime minister" as he aims to thwart May's attempt to run a minority government.

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