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Theresa May re-appoints minister she had fired

Queen's Speech in British parliament set to be delayed

LONDON: Britain's plan for leaving the European Union has not changed, Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said yesterday, despite a disastrous election gamble that has plunged British politics into chaos days before formal Brexit talks begin.

Mrs May failed to win a majority in parliament at the election last week, prompting calls for her plan to leave the EU's single market to be watered down, and for some rival lawmakers to demand that the Brexit process be delayed.

"Our position is clearly set out, it is clearly set out in a number of places and there has been no change to that," Mrs May's spokesman said, adding that Brexit minister David Davis had set out the same position earlier yesterday.

"Obviously there will be discussions in cabinet but he (Davis) also set out very clearly that we have set out our plans clearly and there is no change to those."

The first test of any deal is expected to come at the Queen's Speech - a formal occasion at which the government asks parliament to approve its legislative agenda.

The speech was scheduled to take place on June 19, but the spokesman said an update would be issued on that subject, without commenting on whether it might be delayed. The BBC reported that the speech would be pushed back a few days.

Meanwhile, Mrs May reappointed most of her ministers but brought a Brexit campaigner and party rival into government to try to unite the Conservative Party.

The prime minister said she had tapped experience across the "whole of the Conservative Party" when she appointed Mr Michael Gove, a long-serving cabinet minister who had clashed with Mrs May when she was home secretary, as agriculture minister.

It was a surprise move - Mr Gove was sacked as justice minister by Mrs May last year after his bid to become party leader forced now-foreign minister Boris Johnson from the race, amid accusations of treachery and political backstabbing.

But after gambling away a majority in parliament in an election she did not need to call, Mrs May needs to unite a disillusioned party around her to not only support her in the Brexit talks but also to strike a deal with a small Northern Irish party that will enable her to stay in power.

The pound slid to its lowest level for nearly two months after the vote, but the fall was much less severe than the one sparked by the Brexit vote a year ago.

"The UK has had a reputation, earned over generations, for stability and predictability in its government," said a senior executive at a multi-national company listed on the London FTSE 100, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"That reputation in 12 months has been destroyed, truly destroyed. First by Brexit and now through this election."- REUTERS

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