Theresa May visited Buckingham Palace at lunchtime today, to ask for The Queen’s permission to form a government after making a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland.
Yesterday’s election saw the Conservatives take only 318 seats across the UK, losing 12 from the 2015 vote. Labour made gains across the country, up by 29 seats to 261, with the Lib Dems earning 12 MPs in total, an increase of four. Over 70% of young people 18-24 turned out to vote, which might have been the cause for the swing in Labour’s favour.
The DUP took 10 of the 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland, and so together, they would have 329 seats – three more than the majority needed.
May had a 25-minute audience with The Queen, and in an address to the media said she intended to form a government which could “provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country”.
Referring to the “strong relationship” she had with the DUP, the Prime Minister said the government would “guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks” that are supposed to begin on 19th June; however, it seems this could be postponed.
“Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years,” she said. “And this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.”
The DUP said the deal would work on a vote-by-vote basis called ‘confidence and supply’, whereby the DUP would lend its support and votes in the House of Commons to the Tories on a vote-by-vote basis; they would not form a formal coalition.
Other leaders have called for May’s resignation following the result, in which she was hoping for a larger majority in parliament.
Opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn commented: “I think this is enough to go [step down].”
Tim Farron, Lib Dem leader, said: “Like David Cameron before her, our Conservative Prime Minister rolled the dice with the future of our country out of sheer arrogance and vanity,” he said.
“It is simply inconceivable that the prime minister can begin the Brexit negotiations in just two weeks’ time. She should consider her future – and then, for once, she should consider the future of our country.”