General election: Queen’s Speech delayed

Media captionMrs May will be meeting the committee a day after announcing her cabinet.

The Queen’s Speech – in which the government sets out its legislative programme – has been delayed for a few days, the BBC understands.

The set-piece event had been due to take place on Monday 19 June.

The Conservatives are negotiating with the Democratic Unionist Party to get support for their minority government.

Brexit Secretary David Davis predicted some parts of the Tory manifesto would now have to be “pruned” after the Tories lost their Commons majority.

The Queen’s Speech is written by the government and presents an outline of its planned legislation for the next Parliamentary session.

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said the decision to delay it revealed an “ambiguity” about what would go in it – with several manifesto pledges expected to be watered down or dropped – but also the need for the Tories to “nail down” DUP support.

A defeat for its Queen’s Speech would be tantamount to a vote of no confidence in the new minority government, he said.

Image copyright
Reuters

Theresa May will face questions later from her backbenchers for the first time since Thursday’s election.

They are expected to raise concerns about her leadership style, and press for more details on talks with the DUP.

Mrs May’s new cabinet will also meet for the first time after a reshuffle.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Davis said that while the Tory election campaign had been disappointing, Mrs May was a “formidable prime minister” and accused people speculating about her leadership of “the absolute height of self-indulgence”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Mrs May of “squatting” in No 10, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the country “cannot go on with a period of great instability”.

The PM finalised her cabinet with a small reshuffle, with Michael Gove returning to a ministerial role as environment secretary.

Mr Gove, who took on Mrs May for the party leadership after David Cameron quit, was sacked by the PM in her reshuffle in July last year.

The Conservatives lost their House of Commons majority in Thursday’s snap election, going from 331 seats to 318, while Labour increased its number of MPs from 232 to 262.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says the meeting with the committee had been brought forward by 24 hours, not because of panic within the party, but possibly as a way of avoiding it.

Media captionThe Brexit secretary tells Today the government has made a contingency plan for “no deal” Brexit

One MP told him: “The wise heads will need to tell any hotheads to calm down.”

The 1922 Committee is made up of all Conservative backbenchers – the name is taken from the year in which its original members were elected.

Its primary function is to keep the leadership of the party informed of the mood among the rank and file, and if a Conservative leader or other senior figure loses its support they could be in a particularly vulnerable position.

Graham Brady, chairman of the committee, told BBC One’s Sunday Politics there was “zero appetite” among the public for another election.

Media captionJeremy Corbyn “ready any time” for another election.

A number of high-profile members kept their posts in Sunday’s cabinet reshuffle, with Philip Hammond staying at the Treasury, Boris Johnson remaining at the Foreign Office and Amber Rudd keeping the Home Office brief.

But some changed jobs too, with Liz Truss being demoted from justice secretary to become chief secretary to the Treasury.

Damian Green, who was work and pensions secretary, has been promoted to become the first secretary of state – effectively Mrs May’s second in command.

‘Diminished authority’

Analysis by BBC political correspondent Iain Watson

Widespread demands for Mrs May to go are not expected at Monday’s 1922 Committee meeting.

Instead, there will be demands for her to consult more, including meeting regularly with the 1922 executive, and to turn Downing Street from a bunker into an open house by broadening her range of staff.

However, few MPs expect her position to be strong and stable for the next five years.

One senior backbencher told me: “It is inconceivable she will lead the party into the next election. Her authority has been diminished unquestionably.”

Another said: “Party members have been too bruised by her.”

“She has bought herself some time”, said another senior backbencher, but added: “How she behaves will determine how long she’s there.”

There is a feeling that the party is holding on to nurse for fear of something worse.

Read more from Iain Watson here.

Johnson: MPs should get a grip

After speculation in the Sunday newspapers that he was mounting a leadership challenge, Mr Johnson has called for Tory MPs to back Mrs May.

Writing in Monday’s Sun, the foreign secretary said those calling for the PM to step down should “get a grip”, adding the electorate wanted the government to “get on with the job”.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Mr Johnson has denied plans to try to take over from Mrs May

Mr Johnson admitted the prime minister’s election campaign did not go well – “to put it mildly” – and that Tory messages “got lost or misunderstood”.

But he added: “Theresa May led a campaign that inspired 13.7m people to vote Conservative, in the biggest total tally of Tory votes since the days of Margaret Thatcher.

“That is a stunning achievement, for which she deserves the support of her party. And she will certainly get it from me.”

  • Who are the DUP?
  • How will this minority government actually work?

He also said the proposal of a deal with the DUP to keep her minority government in power was “feasible”.

“The people of Britain have had a bellyful of promises and politicking,” he wrote.

“Now is the time for delivery – and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work.”

Michael Gove’s ‘surprise’

The return of Mr Gove to the front bench as environment secretary has been a shock to some, including the politician himself.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, he said he had been “quite surprised” to be asked to rejoin the cabinet.

He added: “Of course I knew that today was reshuffle day, but I genuinely didn’t expect this role – although I am delighted to be part of the government, and delighted to be able to support Theresa.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Mr Gove is returning to cabinet after being fired by Mrs May last year

However, the BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin says green campaigners are appalled at Mr Gove’s appointment, pointing to his time as education secretary, when he tried to remove climate change from the geography curriculum, and as chief whip, when he blocked the then environment secretary from important international talks.

Tom Burke, from green think tank E3G, told BBC News: “The environment is something young voters really care about.

“If the Tories really want to reconnect with the youth surge, this is about the worst option they could have chosen.”

But others have welcomed the new minister.

One senior farming industry source said they were happy that a “big hitter” was taking the top job at the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).

“Defra has long been a backwater, so at last it’s not someone in charge who is being put out to grass,” he said.

Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning

Facebook

Get the Facebook Likebox Slider Pro for WordPress