Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn countered with a bit of previously unseen swagger, wearing a huge red rose – his party’s symbol – in his lapel as he sparred with May and taunted her about the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming vote on her legislative program, known as the Queen’s Speech.
Termed as one-issue election by May who projected herself as the only leader capable of leading Britain through the divorce from European Union, it went much beyond Brexit – healthcare (NHS), pensions, jobs, housing crisis, education and falling living standards – though concerns about a hard Brexit had an impact on the election’s outcome.
As the dust settles after last week’s electoral pandemonium in Britain, the country finds itself in a true political chaos. Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, Major and Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party membership support a sharp break with the EU.
The daily newspaper also reported that May has been “aware” of the secret talks for days but that she has so far done nothing to stop them.
“The UK has had a reputation, earned over the generations, for stability and predictability in its government”, said a senior executive at a multi-national company listed on the London FTSE 100, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Barnier has said he wants to wrap up a Brexit deal by October 2018 so it has time to get through national parliaments and the European Parliament in time for Britain’s departure from the bloc at the end of March 2019.
“We’ve had some very good discussions today and those discussions are continuing this afternoon”, she said.
Nevertheless, the party still ended up with 56 fewer seats than the Conservatives, who are seeking to form a minority government with the Democratic Unionists. “I can’t negotiate with myself”.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said May’s government lacked the credibility necessary for Brexit talks and should delay the negotiations. With any final deal requiring the lengthy approval of European Union and national legislatures, most think a deal to leave the European Union and negotiate new relations will have to be concluded by the autumn of next year. One whole year has elapsed since the Brexit vote of June 2016 and the country is in completely unable to even sketch a general direction for a way out.
While some members of her party have said she will have to go eventually, May is expected to stay on as prime minister at least for now. “The union as I’ve said before is our guiding star”, she said.
Under the proposed deal, the DUP would likely support May’s Conservatives on big issues such as the budget, Brexit and defence legislation on a vote-by-vote-basis. He added that the British Government needs to be seen as “impartial” and will not be seen as such if they “are locked into a parliamentary deal at Westminster with one of the Northern Ireland parties”.
London’s neutrality is key to the delicate balance of power in Northern Ireland, which was once plagued by violence over Britain’s control of the province.