General election 2017: Why did Theresa May call an election?

Faith Castro
June 12, 2017

Theresa May has said she will form a new government, having visited the Queen in Buckingham Palace after a shocking general election result for the Conservative party.

"The whole west of the province now is left without any representation in the mother of parliaments and I think that's really regrettable and something we need to reflect on", she said.

The Conservatives could command a thin majority with the support of the DUP if they manage to to do a deal with the Northern Irish party.

At one of its most important moments in its history, the country is rudderless and facing a constitutional crisis.

The Conservatives won 318 House of Commons seats in Thursday's election, eight short of an outright majority.

May later met with Queen Elizabeth for permission to form a government following Thursday's election debacle.

On that same day, United Kingdom and European Union officials in Brussels are due to start negotiations on Britain's exit from Europe. Yet she no longer wields power over either.

"I can still be prime minister", Corbyn said.

So who is really in charge?

This is more than the total of Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green Party.

But even in this her lack of authority prevented her from major moves or sackings.

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But she is under pressure from Tory ranks and a number of MPs have criticised her joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill for the way the election campaign unfolded.

DUP leader Arlene Foster confirmed that she had spoken to the Prime Minister and would be entering talks with the Conservatives to discuss "how it may it be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge".

"I think its quite possible there'll be an election later this year or early next year, and that might be a good thing, because we can not go on with a period of great instability", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday.

An alliance, at what cost?

After an initial round of discussions, Downing Street had said on Saturday that the "principles of an outline agreement" had been agreed with the DUP.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill said a deal between the Conservatives and the DUP would "betray the interests" of the people of Northern Ireland. It is due to present its platform for the next session in the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on June 19. That power is now lost. They formed part of May's small inner circle and were blamed by many Conservatives for the party's lackluster campaign and unpopular election platform, which alienated older voters with its plan to take away a winter fuel allowance and make them pay more for long-term care.

Speaking after her return from a 20-minute audience with the Queen, Mrs May said she meant to form a new administration to take Britain into the Brexit negotiations beginning on June 19. Theresa did not get the clear mandate she sought for her version of a hard Brexit.

Corbyn said he did not think May had any credibility and it was "unclear" what kind of programme the Conservatives would be able to put forward.

At the same time Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservatives in Scotland - where the party reversed the trend in England and gained MPs - has called for a new approach building cross-party support for an "open Brexit".

Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party retained just 35 of the 56 seats it secured two years ago, and lost its Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, and former first minister, Alex Salmond. With official Brexit talks with the European Union due to start in mid-June, Mrs May claimed Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems would try to destabilise and frustrate the process in Parliament.

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