09 June 2017, The Tablet

May strikes deal with DUP to form UK government as general election ends in hung parliament

The Conservative party and the DUP will work together, having "enjoyed a strong relationship over many years", says May

Theresa May will form a UK Government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), after last night's election ended with a hung parliament. 

In a short statement delivered outside of Downing Street at 1pm today, the Prime Minister said that her party would "put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do". 

The Conservative party and the DUP will work together, having "enjoyed a strong relationship over many years", she said. 

"What the country needs now more than ever is certainty. Having secured the largest number of votes and greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear the Conservatives and Unionist party has the legitimacy to provide that," she added.

Mrs May is believed to have struck deal, but not a formal coalition agreement, with the party, which narrowly gives her the numbers she needs to pass legislation in the House of Commons. 

The prime minister promised to guide the country "towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country, securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long-term prosperity."

"Now let's get to work," she concluded. 

Mrs May's decision to call a snap election backfired, as she lost the Conservatives’ majority in the House of Commons as Labour made significant gains.

Conservatives are predicted to win 319 seats, down 12 seats on 2015, with Labour predicted to win 261, gaining 29 seats.

Seven seats off the 326 seat-mark needed to command a majority, Mrs May is needs to try and form a minority government, the DUP, which increased its representation in Westminster from 8 to 10, would enable her to do this. 

While the DUP has signalled a willingness to work with the Tories last night, its leader Arlene Foster, speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, expressed doubts that the Prime Minister can "survive". 

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has urged Mrs May to resign, saying she should "go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country”.

He also claimed it is "pretty clear who won this election" and that "the party that has lost in this election is the Conservative Party".

Speaking last night after winning her own parliamentary seat of Maidenhead May said: 

“At this time, more than anything else this country needs a period of stability.”

"If, as the indications have shown and if this is correct, the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes, then it will be incumbent on us to ensure that we have that period of stability and that is exactly what we will do.”

With European Union talks due to start in just nine days, May has not secured the majority that she had sought to be able to negotiate for a “hard Brexit”.

Mrs May's decision to call an early election cost several of her ministers their seats including Ben Gummer, the architect of the Tory manifesto, and Jane Ellison, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in Battersea. For the first time in almost a century, the party lost their Canterbury seat to Labour. 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd narrowly clung onto her Hastings and Rye seat after fierce speculation that she could be ousted.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) lost 21 seats, mainly to the Conservatives, including its two Westminster seats held by Angus Robertson and Alex Salmond.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats managed to make four gains, securing 12 seats in all. However, Nick Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat as Vince Cable secured a return to Parliament after taking back his old Twickenham seat.

Paul Nuttall resigned this morning as UKIP leader after the party won no seats. 


PICTURE: Prime Minister Theresa May and husband Philip leave Downing Street to travel to Buckingham Palace for an audience with Queen Elizabeth following the election results 

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