British PM Theresa May asks rival parties for Brexit support

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May came under fresh pressure on Tuesday (July 11) to soften her Brexit position, adding to uncertainty about her negotiating strategy with Brussels one year after she became Britain's leader.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May came under fresh pressure on Tuesday (July 11) to soften her Brexit position, adding to uncertainty about her negotiating strategy with Brussels one year after she became Britain's leader.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Theresa May has acknowledged the "reality" of her weakened position with an appeal to other parties to help implement Brexit, as she seeks to relaunch her year-old premiership.

One month after losing her parliamentary majority in a snap election, the Conservative leader maintains she is still committed to "bold action" to fulfil her promises of change.

But as fresh rumours swirled of plans to oust her, Mrs May has accepted that "the reality I now face as prime minister is rather different" from what it was.

Her comments came in advance excerpts of a speech due to be delivered today, the anniversary of her winning the Conservative Party leadership race after last year's referendum vote to leave the European Union. "In this new context, it will be even more important to make the case for our policies and our values, and to win the battle of ideas both in Parliament as well as in the country," the speech said.

"So I say to the other parties in the House of Commons... come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country."

Mrs May's de facto deputy, Mr Damian Green, described her call for cross-party cooperation as a "grown-up way of doing politics".

Mrs May has been struggling to maintain her authority since the June 8 election, which left her with a minority government.

Britain's Mail on Sunday reported that former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell had told a private meeting of MPs that Mrs May was "dead in the water" and must quit.

But Justice Secretary David Lidington said this and other rumours were the result of politicians enjoying "too much sun and too much warm prosecco" at summer parties.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'May asks rival parties for Brexit support'. Print Edition | Subscribe