May apologizes to MPs over party’s election performance

British Prime Minister Theresa May

Theresa May has apologized to Tory MPs for the party’s election performance, telling them “I got us into this mess I’ll get us out of it.”

Addressing a meeting of backbenchers, the PM reportedly said she would serve as “long as you want me to do”.

One senior backbencher told reporters that she had appeared “contrite and genuine but not on her knees”.

It comes amid confusion over whether the Queen’s Speech will be delayed as talks continue to form a government.

A senior minister has said he was “optimistic” that the Conservatives and Democratic Unionists will reach an agreement in the coming days to allow a proposed Tory minority government get its plans for the year ahead through the Commons, possibly as early as next Monday.

But First Secretary of State Damian Green said he could not confirm the Queen’s Speech will proceed as planned on 19 June.

Labour said the government was “in chaos” and continued to be “in denial” about the message voters had sent about their opposition to an “extreme Brexit”.

Mrs. May addressed a packed meeting of the 1922 Committee for 90 minutes after her failure to win the election outright prompted days of speculation about her future.

According to reports of the meeting, she accepted personal responsibility for calling the snap election and for the result, which saw her party lose its overall majority and have to rely on the support of others.

‘DUP veto’

Mrs. May, who earlier chaired a two-hour cabinet meeting, reportedly told the committee, a group of backbench MPs, that the DUP would not have a “veto” on the government’s agenda, and there would be no watering down of equalities laws over which the two parties disagree.

Reacting to the meeting, Tory MP Julian Knight said that the prime minister had been “humble and steadfast and certain that we have to get on with the job of government and negotiating Brexit”.

His colleague Sarah Wollaston tweeted: “Conservative MPs all said they were standing with TM. As far as I’m concerned that hasn’t changed.”

Queen’s Speech

Passing the Queen’s Speech – which is written by ministers and presents an outline of its planned legislation for the next Parliamentary session – will be the first major test of Theresa May’s proposed minority government.

If the government was defeated, it would be tantamount to a vote of no confidence.

Mr. Green cited the ongoing negotiations with the DUP when he was asked if next Monday’s speech had been delayed.

“I can’t confirm anything yet until we know the final details of the agreement,” he said. “We know those talks are going well and also we know that, at this very important time, we want to produce a substantial Queen’s Speech.”

One of the reasons for the delay is also believed to be because the speech has to be written on goat’s skin parchment, which takes a few days to dry – and the Tory negotiations with the DUP mean it cannot be ready in time.

 

Zainab Sa’id