Tag Archives: UKelxn17

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:

British Election Brings Mayhem, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Analysis

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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UK Election a Debacle, Brexit Looms

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By David Milliken and Kate Holton 
June 9, 2017

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

LONDON (Reuters) – 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.

May called the snap election confident her Conservative Party would increase its majority and strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks. Instead, Thursday’s vote damaged her authority and made her negotiating position more vulnerable to criticism.

“I’m sorry for all those candidates and hard working party workers who weren’t successful,” May said on Friday after a surprise resurgence by the main opposition Labour Party under its leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“As I reflect on the results I will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward.”

With 649 of 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had won 318 seats, the Labour Party had 261 seats, followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party on 34.

May now risks more opposition to her Brexit plans from inside and outside her party, though a party source said the leading the Conservatives was seen as too much of a poisoned chalice for her to face an immediate challenge.

“She’s staying, for now,” the source told Reuters.

Just after noon, May was driven the short distance from her official Downing Street residence to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to form a government – a formality under the British system.

Her office said later that the key finance, foreign, Brexit, interior and defence ministers would remain unchanged. Further announcements were expected on Saturday.

The socially conservative, pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 seats are enough to give the right-wing Conservatives a fragile but workable majority, which May said would allow her to negotiate a successful exit from the EU.

“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,” May said.

The pound hit an eight-week low against the dollar and its lowest levels in seven months versus the euro before recovering slightly after May said she would form a government backed by her “friends” in the DUP. <GBP=D3> <EURGBP=D3>

BREXIT TIMELINE

However, DUP leader Arlene Foster’s initial comments were non-committal: “The prime minister has spoken with me this morning and we will enter discussions with the Conservatives to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge.”

It was not immediately clear what the DUP’s demands might be and one DUP lawmaker suggested support might come vote by vote.

British business, already struggling with the uncertainties of the two-year Brexit negotiating process, urged party leaders to work together.

“The last thing business leaders need is a parliament in paralysis, and the consequences for British businesses and for the UK as an investment destination would be severe,” said Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors business lobby.

May said Brexit talks would begin on June 19 as scheduled, though the election result meant it was unclear whether her plan to take Britain out of the bloc’s single market and customs union could still be pursued.

EU leaders expressed fears that May’s shock loss of her majority would raise the risk of negotiations failing.

“Do your best to avoid a ‘no deal’ as result of ‘no negotiations’,” Donald Tusk, leader of the EU’s ruling council, wrote in a tweet.

NEGOTIATION RISKS

“We need a government that can act,” EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “With a weak negotiating partner, there’s a danger that the (Brexit) negotiations will turn out badly for both sides.”

There was little sympathy for May from some Europeans.

“Yet another own goal, after Cameron now May, will make already complex negotiations even more complicated,” tweeted Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian premier who is the European Parliament’s point man for the Brexit process.

May’s predecessor David Cameron sought to silence eurosceptic fellow Conservatives by calling the referendum on EU membership, expecting Britons to vote to remain. The result ended his career and shocked Europe.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said the election outcome could mean a less radical split between Britain and the EU.

Ruth Davidson, leader of Conservatives in Scotland, where the party did well, said the results showed that the Conservatives should prioritise good trade relations with the European Union.

“We must in my view seek to deliver an open Brexit, not a closed one, which puts our country’s economic growth first,” Davidson said. Other Conservatives have emphasised the importance of migration controls, something the EU says is incompatible with open trade.

RESURGENT LABOUR

Labour’s Corbyn, revelling in a storming campaign trail performance after pundits had pronounced his Labour Party all but dead, said May should step down and that he wanted to form a minority government.

“The mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence,” he said. “I would have thought that’s enough to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all of the people of this country.”

May unexpectedly called the snap election seven weeks ago, three years early, polls predicting she would massively increase the slim majority she had inherited from Cameron.

Her campaign unravelled after a policy U-turn on care for the elderly, while Corbyn’s old-school socialist platform and more impassioned campaigning style won wider support than anyone had foreseen, notably from young voters, say analysts.

Late in the campaign, Britain was hit by two Islamist militant attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London, temporarily shifting the focus onto security issues.

That did not help May, who had overseen cuts in police numbers during six years in her previous job as interior minister.

Copyright Reuters 2017

(Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Elizabeth Piper, William Schomberg, Andy Bruce, Kylie MacLellan, Costas Pitas, William James and Michael Urquhart in London, Elisabeth O’Leary in Edinburgh, Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Writing by Angus MacSwan and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Related stories:

British Election Brings Mayhem, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Analysis

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.

Text of Theresa May’s statement, Reactions   Fact Box

Prime Minister Theresa May made the following statement in Downing Street on Friday after she lost her majority in a national election…

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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