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Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London...

British Prime Minister Theresa May secured a deal on Saturday to prop up her minority government but looked increasingly isolated after a botched election gamble plunged Britain into crisis just days before the start of talks on leaving the European Union.

But media reports suggest they had demanded the departure of May's joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, as the price for allowing the 60-year-old vicar's daughter to stay in office.

The cabinet heavyweights have been demanding the removal of the pair, who has been blamed for the electoral debacle, when the damage was clear.

But a dismal campaign has left the Prime Minister fending off a mutiny in her own party.

Ex-minister Lord Barker said there was little appetite for a Tory leadership contest but told BBC's Newsnight the Prime Minister was a "terrible campaigner" and "there's clearly not going to be another election with Theresa May at the head".

She is seeking a deal with a small Northern Irish party so that she can stay in power.

The Protestant unionist party also had links with outlawed paramilitary groups during the years of Northern Ireland's "Troubles".

This is why women in Northern Ireland either face a costly and incredibly stressful journey to England and Scotland to have an abortion, or are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. A leading figure in the party has already publicly declared that Peter would not marry Paul in the Northern Ireland!

Former party leaders have warned any immediate leadership challenge would be too disruptive, but most commentators believe May can not survive in the long-term. She's now attempting to form a government.

"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.

In short, Mrs May's troubles are far from over; on the contrary, the internal wars can break out at any time in the fragile hierarchy of the party.

Survation, the opinion polling firm that came closest to predicting correctly the election's outcome, said a new poll it conducted for the Mail on Sunday newspaper showed support for Labour now 6 percentage points ahead of the Conservatives.

The Conservatives lost an absolute majority they had enjoyed prior to the snap election on 8 June, which May had called to strengthen her hand in the upcoming Brexit negotiations slated for 19 June.

Having buoyed by the twin advantages, Mrs May announced the election while on a walking tour in Wales. "Our manifesto was full of fear and the Labour Party's manifesto was full of promises".

Mrs May was working on a Cabinet reshuffle, expected to be limited in extent as the election result means she can not afford to have disgruntled former ministers sniping at her from the backbenches.

But the leadership speculation confirms just how politically wounded the Prime Minister has suddenly become. I think a lot of people voted because they were fed up.

"She needs to be more collegiate, seeking the advice of the cabinet and backbench MPs while reducing her nearly total reliance on a tiny cadre of advisors".

She said the "national interest must be the primary interest", and that stability is needed as Brexit negotiations begin.

On Brexit, the DUP supports leaving the European Union but opposes a return to a "hard" border with Ireland - which could happen if May carries through her threat to walk away from the talks rather than accept a "bad deal".

However he acknowledged that the party would have to abandon much of the programme set out in the general election manifesto as it would no longer be able to get it through Parliament.


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