Theresa May has apologised to her Conservative colleagues after the party’s disastrous election result, saying she’ll serve as Prime Minister as long as they wanted her.
With British politics thrust into its deepest turmoil since last June’s shock Brexit vote, European Union leaders were left wondering how divorce talks would open next week.
Despite her party’s expectations of a landslide victory Ms May lost her majority in parliament, pushing her into rushed talks on a support agreement with a small Eurosceptic Northern Irish Protestant party with 10 parliamentary seats.
The Prime Minister faced her colleagues at a meeting of the 1922 Committee on Monday.
Despite anger at the election, she was cheered briefly at the start of the meeting.
“She said ‘I’m the person who got us into this mess and I’m the one who is going to get us out of it,'” one Conservative politician quoted her as saying after the meeting.
“She said she will serve us as long as we want her.”
Ms May appeared contrite, sought to apologise for her failed election gamble and gave an explanation of what went wrong.
While some members of her party have said she will have to go eventually, Ms May is expected to stay on as Prime Minister at least for now.
Ms May has promised to start the formal Brexit talks next week, but her authority has collapsed since the election result and opponents took her woes as a chance to push back against her Brexit strategy.
During the campaign, Ms May cast herself as the only leader competent enough to navigate the tortuous Brexit negotiations that will shape the future of the United Kingdom and its $2.5 trillion economy.
She mocked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist, as incompetent and unrealistic, but his electoral campaign energised the youth vote and wiped out the Conservatives’ majority in parliament.
Ms May plans a clean break from the EU, involving a withdrawal from Europe’s single market and customs union, and limits on immigration from the EU.
Before the government can do anything it must finalise a deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Ms May is due to meet its leader Arlene Foster on Tuesday.