Theresa May is in talks with senior Conservative politicians on forming her new Cabinet, while in-depth talks continue with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party (DUP) over a confidence and supply agreement to allow them to govern.
The Prime Minister is expected to choose the members of her cabinet today, although the scope for any major reshuffle was limited by the humiliating failure to reach a majority in Thursday’s General Election.
May had been expected to move senior figures in her Cabinet if she had won an increased majority. During the election campaign she repeatedly failed to back her chancellor, Philip Hammond, to stay in his job.
However, May’s weak position has left her unable to make major changes, while Conservative MP Anna Soubry said yesterday May should “consider her position”.
But some more junior roles need to be filled after several ministers lost their seats. Housing minister Gavin Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat to Labour by more than 5,000 votes, while former Treasury minister Jane Ellison lost her Battersea seat by more than 2,000.
The Conservative party lost its majority in the House of Commons after a Labour vote surge saw it take seats from the Tories across the country (but particularly in the capital), leaving May reliant on the DUP to pass a Queen’s Speech, one of the central acts of government.
However, May faced questions from within the Conservative party ranks over the DUP’s attitude to gay rights and women’s rights. The DUP is officially opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion, while senior DUP politicians have previously said they are “repulsed” by gay people and linked homosexuality to child abuse.
Scottish Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson yesterday held talks with May to seek a “categoric assurance” there would be recension of LGBTI rights in any agreement with the DUP.
Davidson, who led the party to a gain of 12 seats plus the one it already held north of the border, yesterday pointedly tweeted a speech on equal marriage to Amnesty Pride in Belfast.
As a Protestant Unionist about to marry an Irish Catholic, here's the Amnesty Pride lecture I gave in Belfast...https://t.co/NdRaT2s3W5— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) June 9, 2017
Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, wrote on Twitter: “I joined a party that introduced equal marriage, backs civil rights and defends freedom of faith. Those principles won't be compromised.”
I joined a party that introduced equal marriage, backs civil rights and defends freedom of faith. Those principles won't be compromised.— Tom Tugendhat (@TomTugendhat) June 9, 2017