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'I got us into this mess, I'll get us out': Theresa May tries to unify her new Cabinet

Boris Johnson said that May gave a ‘stonking performance’ at the first meeting with her new Cabinet this evening.

General Election 2017 aftermath Images from Theresa May's first meeting with her new Cabinet. Source: Leon Neal/PA Images

THERESA MAY TOOK the blame for the Conservatives’ disastrous performance in last week’s election as she faced her party’s angry MPs this evening – in what is viewed as an attempt to ward off a leadership challenge.

“I got us into this mess, and I’m going to get us out,” May told Conservatives MPs during a meeting in Westminster.

May’s Conservatives unexpectedly lost their majority in parliament in Thursday’s snap vote, causing political chaos ahead of Brexit talks with the European Union set to start next week and prompting calls – from within her own party – for her resignation.

Today she faced members of the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee, which can trigger a vote of confidence in a party leader if it receives letters from 15% of the party’s MPs.

But one MP present at the meeting said there was no discussion of a leadership contest, adding “she’s won, she’s got to be prime minister”.

May vowed to stay on despite the poor results, and yesterday unveiled a largely unchanged new cabinet, which met for the first time today.

General Election 2017 aftermath Boris Johnson says he has no interest in the leadership and backs May as PM. Source: Leon Neal

Foreign minister Boris Johnson, who was reported by British media to be lining up a leadership bid, insisted May should stay.

“The people of Britain have had a bellyful of promises and politicking,” he wrote in The Sun tabloid. “Now is the time for delivery – and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work.”

After the meeting he tweeted that May gave a “stonking performance”:

May’s party fell eight seats short of retaining its parliamentary majority, and is now in talks with the North’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – which won 10 seats – to forge an informal alliance.

Deckchairs

Theresa May announced a new cabinet – with no changes among her top team –  in an attempt to appear proactive in the wake of a defeat.

In a surprise move, Michael Gove was appointed environment and agriculture minister less than a year after the prime minister sacked him as justice minister.

After the opposition Labour party made hefty election gains by focusing heavily on national issues, May listed areas such as education and housing as top policy priorities.

Concern over DUP deal

DUP leader Arlene Foster said there had been “positive engagement” so far.

“We are going into these talks with the national interest at heart. The union as I’ve said before is our guiding star,” she said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the government was not looking at a formal coalition but would seek assurances that the DUP would vote with May “on the big things”.

He stressed he did not share their ultra-conservative views on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, which have caused disquiet among many Conservatives.

The deal has also caused consternation here in Dublin, with Enda Kenny warning such an alliance could upset Northern Ireland’s fragile peace.

Lady in waiting

General Election 2017 aftermath Source: Steve Parsons/PA Images

It’s expected that the British government will delay by “a few days” the presentation of its programme in parliament following its setback in the general election last week, the BBC reports.

The pageantry-filled ceremony, officially the State Opening of Parliament but more commonly known as the Queen’s Speech, is an outline of the government’s policy proposal read by Queen Elizabeth II.

It had been scheduled for 19 June and has been in the queen’s diary since April. It’s been reported that the Queen would attend the Royal Ascot the following week, but her plans could be delayed now.

There was some speculation that the delay was caused because the speech needed to be written on goat’s skin, but thankfully, that seems to have been disproved.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May refused to confirm the date at a daily briefing, saying only that there would be a statement regarding the Queen’s Speech “in due course”.

The spokesman added that any update would come from Andrea Leadsom, the government’s new representative in the House of Commons.

What’s causing all the fuss?

General Election 2017 aftermath Source: Charles McQuillan/PA Images

Conservative leader May lost her parliamentary majority in the election, and ministers have said the government will have to jettison key parts of its manifesto ahead of the Queen’s Speech.

May is trying to strike a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to have the support of its 10 MPs in parliament.

The speech is normally followed by days of debate and then a vote on the government’s programme, which would in effect be a vote of confidence in the government.

We are working with the DUP in order to reach a deal that will allow the safe passage of the Queen’s Speech.

The State Opening involves the queen reading out the government’s policy plans from a calfskin parchment in an annual tradition dating back to the Middle Ages.

The monarch is clad in white and usually arrives in a gilded carriage with dozens of horsemen to the sounds of the national anthem, ‘God Save The Queen’.

In a bizarre custom dating back to times of hostility between parliament and monarchy, an MP is “held hostage” at Buckingham Palace until she returns safely.

© AFP 2017

Read: There’s been a 96% drop in EU nurses going to work in the UK since Brexit

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