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Theresa May will face a showdown with backbench Conservative MPs later today as she attempts to strengthen her dwindling authority as prime minister following her party’s disastrous general election campaign.
Having lost her electoral majority when she was expected to achieve a landslide victory, May’s closest advisors – Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill – resigned on Saturday as the prime minister’s joint chiefs-of-staff. At the same time the Conservatives opened up negotiations with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party in order to achieve the Commons majority stripped of them by the electorate.
May will meet with her party’s influential 1922 committee this afternoon – an encounter that has been brought forward by 24 hours – where she is expected to face criticism of her leadership style, and be asked to explain more about what an arrangement with the DUP will look like.
Before then, she will chair the first meeting of her cabinet after a reshuffle in which most senior members stayed in post. In perhaps the clearest sign that she is indeed a “dead women walking”, as former colleague George Osborne so mercilessly labelled her on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Philip Hammond remained as chancellor despite all expectation that he would be sacked following the election.
The headline announcement came with the appointment of Michael Gove as environment secretary. The return of Gove to the front bench less than a year after his sacking is a change that May would never have expected to be forced to make before Thursday night’s result.
With her people now in place, attention will turn to policy and what parts of May’s much criticised manifesto will survive the cutting room floor. Pledges that appear in danger include the return of grammar schools, changes to social care and the end of the triple-lock to pensions. Pressure is also mounting for a softened stance towards a hard Brexit.
If the weekend’s activity has shown us anything, it is that this election – and the fall-out it has caused – was far from the cursory validation exercise the PM had intended it to be. Ahead of the upcoming negotiations with the EU next week, May’s authority is diminished rather than elevated.
French President Emmanuel Macron is on course to achieve what Theresa May didn’t by securing an overwhelming mandate after sweeping to victory in the first round of parliamentary elections. The La République En Marche party – founded only 14 months ago – won 32.32% of the vote, paving the way for a large majority in the second round next week. (£)
Speculation continues over whether plans for a UK state visit by US President Donald Trump have been delayed. It comes after The Guardian reported that the visit was on hold after the president told Theresa May he wanted to hold off visiting until he had the support of the British public. While Downing Street has said that there has been “no change” to the invitation, the visit is expected to be left out of the upcoming Queen’s Speech. (£)
First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron have moved into the White House, five months after her husband took office. Mrs Trump had remained in New York to allow her 11-year-old son to finish the school year, a decision which made her the first presidential spouse in recent years not to relocate to Washington immediately.
Rafael Nadal became the first tennis player in the Open era to have won a Grand Slam tournament 10 times after he beat Stanislas Wawrinka in yesterday’s French Open final. Nadal came through 6-2 6-3 6-1 at Roland Garros to secure “La Decima”.
Business & Economy
Business confidence has fallen “through the floor” as a result of the uncertainty caused by the general election result, a snap poll of 700 members of the Institute of Directors has found. The research also found “no desire” for another election in the next year.
The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates in the US this week following unusually low unemployment and healthy job creation. According to CME Group’s Fedwatch, which tracks future prices, the probability of an increase in the rate at the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday is 100 per cent. (£)
Sky TV suffered the biggest drop in average live viewing figures of Premier League football games since records started in 2010. Average viewing on Sky’s live TV channels dropped 14 per cent over the past season, despite the fact it paid two-thirds more to show the matches under the latest three-year deal. (£)
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Columns of Note
Kevin Pringle ponders what the outcome of Thursday’s general election means for both Scotland and the rest of the UK. Writing in The Sunday Times yesterday, Kevin says the failure of Theresa May to secure a mandate for a ‘hard’ Brexit means the Westminster parliament now has an opportunity to take the initiative and deliver an exit from the EU which is far more balanced. (£)
Writing for the FT, recently deposed MP Nick Clegg has outlined five steps Theresa May must now take if she is to remain in Downing Street. Clegg recommends resisting the idea to plough on with a hard Brexit, turning the heat on Labour, and breaking away from the right-wing media that he believes has “held her hostage.” (£)
Did you know?
As a result of their many territories and dependencies across the world, France has 12 time zones, more than any other country.
House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
House of Lords
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
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