World

Ex-minister: May is a 'dead woman walking'

No leadership challenge to Theresa May yet, but many believe she cannot survive in the long-term

LONDON A former Conservative rival yesterday called British Prime Minister Theresa May a "dead woman walking" as she raced to secure the support she needs to stay in power following a devastating election.

Mrs May's office was forced to backtrack late on Saturday after announcing that an outline deal had been agreed with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to form a government, admitting that talks were still ongoing.

The confusion reinforced a sense of chaos just days before Britain begins negotiations to leave the European Union.

Mrs May has struggled to reassert her authority after losing her parliamentary majority in last week's snap election, which she had no pressure to call.

Former Conservative finance minister George Osborne, who Mrs May sacked after taking office, said she was now a "dead woman walking".

The Sunday newspapers reported that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was set to launch a bid to oust her, after five ministers approached him about it.

Mr Johnson dismissed the reports in a tweet, saying he backed Mrs May.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, one of Mrs May's strongest supporters within the party, said he expected Conservative lawmakers to rally behind her.

Former party leaders have warned any immediate leadership challenge would be too disruptive, but many believe Mrs May cannot survive in the long-term.

With the new government set to present its legislative programme to Parliament on June 19, the clock is ticking on efforts to bolster the Conservatives' position after they won just 318 of the 650 seats.

DUP leader Arlene Foster is to meet Mrs May in London tomorrow, Sky News reported.

CONDEMNATION

More than 600,000 people have signed a petition condemning the alliance, saying it is a "disgusting, desperate attempt to stay in power".

Opposition leader Jeremyn Corbyn said his party would vote down Mrs May's Queen's Speech - or programme for government, when she presented it to Parliament - and another election might be needed to break the deadlock.

"It is quite possible there will be an election later this year or early next year and that might be a good thing because we cannot go on with a period of great instability," he told the BBC. - AFP

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