Ministers back May as UK PM

Elizabeth Piper and Andy Bruce
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Ministers back May as UK PM

Senior members in Theresa May's government have moved to support her leadership despite doubts about whether she will remain in power following a disastrous British election result.

The prime minister is meeting members of her party on Monday after losing her majority in the House of Commons last week.

Seeking to set the tone, David Davis, the cabinet member in charge of European Union exit negotiations, says speculation about her removal is "unbelievably self-indulgent."

Davis told ITV he's loyal to May and there's a distinction between "running a campaign and running a country. Running a country is more difficult and she's formidably good at that."

Responding to calls for May to amend her Brexit plan, Davis said last year's EU referendum had produced a vote to take "control of our borders," which "takes us out of the single market whether we like it or not."

May asked voters to give her a bigger majority but was left with a minority government but this would not "soften" Britain's Brexit deal, Davis told ITV, adding that he rejected the distinction between "hard and "soft" Brexit.

The government will reportedly delay the Queen's Speech, in which it traditionally spells out its policy plans, because of the upheaval caused by May's failure to win a parliamentary majority last week.

The speech had been due to take place on June 19 but would be put back by a few days, the BBC said.

Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, tipped as a leading candidate to succeed May if she steps down, also backed her on Monday.

"There can be no backsliding from the objectives the PM set out in the [election] campaign - taking back control of our laws, our borders, our cash; but also ensuring that we have a great new partnership with the EU that allows us to trade more freely and enthusiastically than ever," Johnson wrote in the right-wing tabloid The Sun.

Johnson said he was optimistic that it would be "possible to build a consensus about how to do a great deal for the UK - and the EU," since some 90 per cent of MPs had committed themselves to Brexit in their election manifestos.

May is scheduled to face the Conservative Party's influential 1922 Committee of MP on Monday, following a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday.

She is expected to face tough questions on how she lost seats in the snap election, after she began the campaign with expectations of a landslide victory.