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Tuesday 3 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# Down but not out
Theresa May says she'll form minority government with 'friends and allies' in the DUP
May has acted swiftly to agree a deal that will see her return as Prime Minister.

General Election 2017 aftermath Jonathan Brady PA Wire / PA Images Jonathan Brady PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Updated 2.50pm

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has visited Buckingham Palace this lunchtime to ask the Queen’s permission to form a government, despite losing an overall majority in yesterday’s general election.

She said that she would work “friends and allies” in the DUP to support a Conservative government.

Speaking this afternoon however, DUP leader Arlene Foster said that she had spoke to May and was “exploring how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation”.

“I have just been to see her majesty, the Queen, and I will now form a government,” May said.

This government will guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks in 10 days time. It will work to keep our nation safe and secure by delivering the change I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and in London.

May said that the government “would fulfil the promise of Brexit” and deliver “on the will of the people”. She said no one and no community would be left behind.

What the country needs is certainty… it is clear that only the Conservative and the Unionist Party has that certainty to provide a majority in the House of Commons.

She said the Tories would work with the DUP “in particular”. She said their close ties would ensure they could effectively work together.

May concluded that people had voted for Brexit and now it’s time “to get to work”.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are set to act as kingmakers, by giving May enough votes to regain a majority in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives won 318 seats in the election, falling short of the 326 needed for a majority, but support from the DUP and its 10 seats will see it over the line.

Foster said that the election was “a great result for the Union” and “a clear and resounding message” had been sent to those who would seek to break it up.

“The union is our guiding star,” she said.

General Election 2017 declaration Niall Carson / PA Wire Niall Carson / PA Wire / PA Wire

She said that the DUP would work to achieve the best for the people of Northern Ireland and the Union as a whole.

The DUP leader added that she had spoken with Theresa May this morning and would “enter discussions” with a view to providing stability, but failed to provide details on how the party would support a Conservative government.

Earlier, a DUP source told The Guardian: “We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The alternative is intolerable.

For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM.

It is not believed that they will enter into a formal coalition government, but the DUP will support the Tories nonetheless.

Since the Brexit vote, the DUP has campaigned against affording a “special status” to Northern Ireland after the UK leaves the EU. Sinn Féin, however, has strongly called for this on numerous occasions.

In a statement this morning, Gerry Adams said that the “Irish government needs to seize the initiative to secure designated special status for the North as part of the Brexit negotiations”.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said in a statement that the election result indicates “there is no strong mandate to proceed with a hard Brexit, which represents an opportunity for Ireland.

The early restoration of the Executive in Northern Ireland is also a priority. There is now a strong opportunity for the parties in Northern Ireland to re-engage in discussions to form an Executive.

May met the Queen at 12.30pm this afternoon, defying earlier calls from the opposition and some of her own MPs to step down.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told party activists today that May was “arrogant” and “vain” and should step down.

“She should consider her future – and then, for once, she should consider the future of the country,” he said.

Also speaking today, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said that the “reckless Tory pursuit of a hard Brexit has to be abandoned” and warned of an “unstable administration” under May and the DUP.

Read: The winners and losers in the UK general election

Read: With support from grime artists and actors, young voters turned out in droves for Corbyn

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