The United Kingdom has been thrown into political turmoil following a general election result which saw no party gain enough seats in order to command a majority in parliament. As Prime Minister Theresa May clings onto power with a minority government, her joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, have resigned their posts in Downing Street.
According to Politico, Nick Timothy confirmed his resignation from the prime minister’s inner circle on Friday, with the Conservative party later confirming that Fiona Hill had followed suit. It’s reported that the prime minister had been warned she would face a leadership challenge from within her own party unless Timothy and Hill were removed from their posts.
“The reason for the disappointing result was not the absence of support for Theresa May and the Conservatives but an unexpected surge in support for Labour,” Nick Timothy wrote in a post confirming his resignation on Conservative Home. “One can speculate about the reasons for this, but the simple truth is that Britain is a divided country: many are tired of austerity, many remain frustrated or angry about Brexit, and many younger people feel they lack the opportunities enjoyed by their parents’ generation.”
Timothy continued by claiming that his party’s campaign failed to notice those divides in the country, claiming that its closely targeted campaign was a mistake.
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) June 10, 2017
“I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy programme,” he continued. “In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care.”
“I hope the Conservative Party in Parliament gets behind the Prime Minister and allows her the political space to negotiate that deal. In the meantime, I want to place on record my sorrow for the Conservative Members of Parliament who lost their seats, several of whom are close friends.”
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The Labour Party, which made gains in the election but fell short of winning enough seats to challenge Mrs. May’s leadership, said the pair had “taken the fall” for the prime minister.
According to the BBC, meanwhile, the prime minister swiftly confirmed that the new Downing Street chief of staff is ex-Conservative MP and former housing minister Gavin Barwell, who lost his parliamentary seat in Thursday’s election. Barwell’s appointment is said to have been approved by Mrs. May’s party, who are now reported to be in control of any decisions she makes.
Since the surprise election result on Thursday, the British Prime Minister has insisted that she will remain in post, despite her party losing its majority in the House of Commons. She announced on Saturday evening that her party’s chief whip had agreed to an outline deal “in principle” with the DUP of Northern Ireland, which would see the unionist party support the Tories on key votes. However, many within the Conservative party are concerned about the alignment with the DUP, which holds socially conservative views on many key issues.
— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) June 9, 2017
Charles Tannock, a Conservative member of the European Parliament, said the DUP, which is opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion, was a “hardline, populist, protectionist” party and a “poor fit” as a partner in government for his party.
Conservative MP and former minister Anna Soubry welcomed the departure of Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. However, she conceded that Mrs. May’s position is now purely temporary, with the Conservative party expected to appoint a new leader who will ultimately serve as the country’s prime minister.
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]