The Prime Minister apologised as she faced the backbench 1922 Committee for the first time since a disastrous General Election in which the Tories lost their House of Commons majority.

“I said during the election campaign that if re-elected I would intend to serve a full term”, she told reporters in No 10.

By her pugnacious and reasoned questioning of the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the past year, the Scottish Tory leader had put her party in the driving seat of the main vehicle to reverse the seemingly unstoppable SNP juggernaut. Indeed, growing numbers in the Cabinet now privately think Britain should seek to retain membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the customs union as an interim step while a permanent arrangement is sorted out.

Investors are trying to gauge what impact the vote could have on the economy and the Brexit talks. But online lenders and other fintech firms have been anxious that May’s vow to pursue a hard Brexit would make it difficult to hire European Union nationals and to expand operations on the continent via passporting, which now allows global banks with bases in London to provide services to the rest of the bloc.

Last night the DUP’s hardline critic, the TUV leader Jim Allister, said that “anyone with the interests of Northern Ireland at heart, irrespective of party affiliation, will hope that the DUP uses its new position of influence wisely and to good effect”.

An MP at the “22 confirmed the Tories” poorly received social care policy – dubbed the “dementia tax” – looks set to be dropped, while it is thought Mrs May’s cherished ambition to open new grammar schools may have to be ditched.

Mr Green said the Brexit talks were “the most urgent task facing the new Government”.

Republican Sinn Fein won seven seats but historically hasn’t taken them up in the London chamber.

According to the Belfast Agreement, which largely ended decades of violence between Irish Catholic nationalists and pro-British Protestant unionists, the government in London must maintain a neutral stance between the opposing sides. The prime minister told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday she would start exit talks within the next two weeks as envisaged, and focus on gaining a “reciprocal agreement” on European Union citizens in the United Kingdom and British citizens overseas.

The uncertainty came as Theresa May’s Conservatives continued talks with the Democratic Unionist Party to secure the support of the Northern Irish party’s 10 MPs to get its agenda through Parliament, following an election result which left the Tories short of an absolute majority in the Commons.

As last week’s vote yielded no majority victor, a new speech was required – and the time it would take for that missive to be scrawled upon the thick specialist paper (which is no longer made using animal hides) and sufficiently dried for use was, apparently, a factor in the delay.

In March, before calling the election, May triggered the two-year timetable for Britain to leave the EU.

“One piece of good news is the whole election has put pay to a hard Brexit”, Osborne told CNN.

He said May is more likely to be able to get support in Parliament with a softer Brexit policy that could gain the backing of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even the anti-Brexit SNP, even if that meant losing the votes of Brexiteers in her own party.

Foster declined to say what she was asking for in exchange for supporting the Conservative Party.

“Our position is clearly set out, it is clearly set out in a number of places and there has been no change to that”, Mrs May’s spokesman said, adding that Brexit minister David Davis had set out the same position earlier yesterday.

DUP leader Arlene Foster rejected suggestions that the mooted deal could undermine a return to power-sharing arrangements at Stormont, amid claims from political rivals that the Government’s stated impartiality would be fatally undermined.

Top EU and British figures held “talks about talks” on Brexit Monday but failed to nail down a date for the start of negotiations amid the fallout from Britain’s chaotic election, officials said.

Boris Johnson has brushed off reports he is plotting to oust Theresa May, insisting he fully supports her attempts to form a minority government.

But the prime minister said she had a busy schedule ahead, with a cabinet meeting on Monday and talks with French President Emmanuel Macron the following day.

He told ITV that he is an “unswerving supporter” of Mrs May, and that there is a distinction between “running a campaign and running a country”.


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