Theresa May’s top two aides have quit after the Conservative Party’s poor showing in the UK election.
Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, both May’s co-chiefs of staff, announced they were resigning after the Tories failed to win a majority.
May is fighting for her political life after calling the snap general election in order to strengthen her parliamentary majority ahead of Brexit talks.
But after the election gamble backfired the Conservatives have had to begin talks with the Democratic Unionist Party in order to form a government.
“The reason for the disappointing result was not the absence of support for Theresa May and the Conservatives but an unexpected surge in support for Labour,” Timothy wrote on ConservativeHome.com. “I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy programme.
“In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care.
“But I would like to make clear that the bizarre media reports about my own role in the policy’s inclusion are wrong: it had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project.”
May has insisted Brexit talks scheduled for June 19 would go ahead.
On the same day the UK’s parliament will re-open and to govern May needs the support of the socially conservative DUP from Northern Ireland.
Britain’s press savaged May on Saturday and questioned whether she could remain in power, only two months after she started the clock ticking on the two-year EU divorce process.
The best-selling Sun newspaper said senior members of the party had vowed to get rid of May, but would wait at least six months because they feared a leadership contest could propel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into power.
“She’s staying, for now,” one Conservative Party source told Reuters.
The outcome risks upsetting the political balance in Northern Ireland by aligning London more closely with the pro-British side in the divided province, and increases the chance that Britain will fall out of the EU in 2019 without a deal.