Text of Theresa May’s statement, Reactions

 

Britain’s Primer Minister Theresa May addresses the country after Britain’s election at Downing Street in London, Britain June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

June 9, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May made the following statement in Downing Street on Friday after she lost her majority in a national election:

I have just been to see Her Majesty, the Queen and I will now form a government. A government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.

This government will guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days and to deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

It will work to keep our nation safe and secure by delivering the change that I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London.

Cracking down on the ideology of Islamist extremism and all those who support it. And giving the police and the authorities the powers they need to keep our country safe.

The government I lead will put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do. So that we will fulfil the promise of Brexit together and over the next five years build a country in which no one, and no community, is left behind.

A country in which prosperity and opportunity are shared right across this United Kingdom.

What the country needs more than ever is certainty. Having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons.

As we do, 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.

This will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country, securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long term prosperity.

That’s what people voted for last June, that’s what we will deliver, now let’s get to work.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Comments from Conservative party members:

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives on Number 10 Downing Street on the morning after Britain’s election in London, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority on Friday after a surprisingly poor election performance, throwing her future into doubt.

Below are comments from members of May’s Conservative Party on her position:

JACOB REES-MOGG, EUROSCEPTIC LAWMAKER

“I think Mrs May will have a good deal of support. She’s only been the leader for under a year, she got it without any opposition, an uncontested election with support up and down the country. I don’t think the Conservative Party is so fickle, or such a fair-weather friend as it would not continue to back the prime minister.”

ANNA SOUBRY, PRO-EUROPEAN LAWMAKER

“She’s in a very difficult place, she’s a remarkable and a very talented woman and she doesn’t shy from difficult decisions, but she now has to obviously consider her position.”

“Theresa did put her mark on this campaign, she takes responsibility as she always does, and I know she will, for the running of the campaign. It was tightly knit group, and it was her group that ran this campaign.”

“I’m afraid we ran a pretty dreadful campaign, that’s probably me being generous.”

“The change of heart on social care … it did not make her look the strong and stable prime minister and leader that she had said that she was. That was a very difficult and very serious blow in terms of her own credibility.”

IAIN DUNCAN SMITH, FORMER CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER

“I just want some stability. She is prime minister, she remains prime minister and the country has to come first.”

ED VAIZEY, FORMER CULTURE MINISTER

“I think she can hold on … going into a hung parliament, to lose our prime minister would be disastrous.”

“If she wants to stay on as leader I would support her.”

JOHN REDWOOD, EUROSCEPTIC LAWMAKER

“A very very strong mandate for our prime minister, and of course it should be the leader with the most seats in the House of Commons who can win the necessary votes, and Theresa May is in that position today.”

NICKY MORGAN, FORMER EDUCATION MINISTER

“Theresa May is obviously a competent, more than capable prime minister… but clearly there has been a misjudgement.”

“There are two things: having a government prepared to negotiate Brexit, which I think is what most people in this country now agree needs to happen, and what’s going to happen to the Conservative party, which is for us to deal with.”

(Reporting by William James, Georgina Prodhan and Paul Sandle, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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Trade experts on the election result, Brexit:

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – Britain’s new government would be well advised to ask for more time to negotiate Brexit, trade experts said on Friday, as Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to strengthen her bargaining position through a quick election victory fell flat.

Top trade lawyers at a conference in Geneva struggled to digest the election chaos, but said the vast amount of negotiating and the practical job of implementing a trade deal could not be done by the March, 2019 deadline.

“Listening to all of this, the one thing that I am speculating on as I hear it all is the desperate need, I feel, to buy time,” said Jennifer Hillman, formerly an appeals judge at the World Trade Organization and legal counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative.

May’s parliamentary majority was wiped out in a snap election she had called to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, throwing Britain into political turmoil.

“It strikes me there’s no way, no way at all, that this can be done in the two-year time frame, even leaving aside the outcome of the elections,” Hillman said, citing Britain’s lack of experienced negotiators and regulators as part of the problem.

Veteran trade litigator Gary Horlick said every question about Brexit generated 10 more, and the need to replace thousands of existing agreements threw up vast practical and logistical issues, some of them relatively trivial.

“Transition is quite possible but someone has to check every single thing,” he told the conference, held by the Geneva Graduate Institute and Georgetown University Law Center.

“It’s really made for the KPMGs and PriceWaterHouses of the world.

“To illustrate the complexity… there is a British-French-Irish agreement on the free transit of race horses. If you have a race horse this is no small item. The race horse cannot be stuck in customs, believe me, these are very valuable animals.”

Holger Hestermeyer, an international dispute resolution expert at King’s College London who has advised a committee of Britain’s House of Lords on Brexit, said May had been wrong to think she needed a big majority in parliament to negotiate with the EU, and now faced a “very, very tough” situation.

“More time is needed,” he said.

“The two years is the transition period. If we would now have a transition period industry could rely on that. But they already have to plan for the worst-case scenario. That time frame is just not enough. I thing prolonging it is possible.

“I just see anyone in the UK having a hard time asking because there seems to be some hesitancy to be regarded as critical of Brexit.”

Isabelle Van Damme, a trade lawyer at Van Bael & Bellis who previously worked in chambers at the European Court of Justice, agreed.

“I think an extension is absolutely needed but it needs to be asked now and I don’t think there is political capital to do that right now in the United Kingdom,” she said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Related stories:

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British voters have shown Prime Minister Theresa May the door. The implications of this drubbing for the Conservative government are profound, for May as Prime Minister,  but with much deeper implications for Britain.

UK Election a Debacle, Brexit Looms, by David Milliken and Kate Holton   Report

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would lead a minority government backed by a small Northern Irish party after she lost an election gamble days before the start of talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union.

 

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