Theresa May to finalise her cabinet and do DUP deal after UK general election upset

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street to go to Buckingham Palace where she will seek the Queen's permission to form a UK government on June 9, 2017 in London, England. After a snap election was called by Prime Minister Theresa May the United Kingdom went to the polls yesterday. The closely fought election has failed to return a clear overall majority winner and a hung parliament has been declared. (Photo by )Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesPrime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street to go to Buckingham Palace on Friday.
  • May to confirm the rest of her cabinet after Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, and David Davis keep jobs.
  • May under pressure to sack her joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.
  • Tories and DUP to agree written “programme for government.”

Theresa May is ready to finalise her top team of ministers as she clung to power on Friday after failing to win a majority in the British general election.

Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, and Amber Rudd will remain as foreign secretary, chancellor, and home secretary respectively. David Davis will also stay on as Brexit secretary and Sir Michael Fallon will keep his role as defence secretary.

As the prime minister looks to confirm other roles, such as health secretary, she is also under pressure to sack her most senior advisers: Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. Cabinet ministers and a “string of Conservative MPs” told The Guardian that the joint chiefs of staff are “monsters who propped her up and sunk our party.”

Timothy was the architect of the disastrous social care plan in May’s manifesto, according to reports. She was forced to backtrack on the vision, which included the so-called dementia tax, just days after it was published.

Australian strategist Sir Lynton Crosby was also under fire for overseeing May’s election campaign. He set the tone of her bid to win a larger majority, including what became known as “Mayism” — a relentless focus on the prime minister rather than the Conservative Party.

Deal with the DUP

May is also focused on securing a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The Tories needed 326 seats to win but fell short by eight. The DUP won 10. May will need the Northern Irish MPs’ votes to force policy through parliament.

The Telegraph reported that the Tories and DUP will agree a written “programme for government” over the coming days. The document will set out the policies they both agree on. It will form the basis of a series of new laws to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on 19 June.

Speaking about the partnership on Friday, May said: “We will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular.

“Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years, and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.”

The “coalition of crackpots”

There are significant concerns about the relationship, however. Left-wing newspaper The Daily Mirror dubbed it the “coalition of crackpots,” pointing to the DUP’s hardline views. The party, for example, does not believe in gay marriage, is anti-abortion, and is sceptical about climate change.

Ruth Davidson celebrating success pubJeff J Mitchell / GettyScottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

Ruth Davidson, the gay Scottish Conservative leader, tweeted a link on Friday to a speech she gave on equal marriage. She was given assurances by May, however, that the DUP partnership will not impact the Tory support of LGBTI rights.

“I was fairly straightforward with her and I told her that there were a number of things that count to me more than party. One of them is country, one of the others is LGBTI rights,” Davidson told the BBC. “It’s an issue that’s very close to my heart and one that I wanted categoric assurance from the prime minister on, and I received.”

This story is developing.

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