UK Conservatives rally around beleaguered PM Theresa May ahead of Brexit talks

After attending the Prime Minister's political cabinet on Monday, she told BBC News: "I'm suggesting that the Conservative Party works with those both within the House of Commons and with people without to ensure that as we leave the European Union we have a Brexit that works for the economy and puts that first".

Mrs May chaired her first full Cabinet meeting this morning as Conservative party chiefs urged MPs to rally behind her to avoid a civil war over Brexit after her dismal election campaign left them short of an overall Commons majority.

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.

Playing down the prospect of an immediate challenge to Mrs May's leadership, Brexit Minister David Davis - who has been touted as a contender to replace the prime minister - said speculation about her removal was "unbelievably self-indulgent".

The most senior ministers stayed in post, while May was forced to bring back into the Cabinet one of her long-term political foes, Michael Gove, to appease an angry Conservative Party.

Meanwhile, the chief European Union negotiator has told the Financial Times that the clock was ticking on Brexit talks, and that Britain should be wary of further delays. "Now is the time for delivery - and Theresa May is the right person to continue that vital work".

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Without a majority, May's government will be vulnerable if a significant number of MPs in her party who want a soft Brexit find common cause with Labour and other parties.

If May had won a majority last Thursday, she would have been converting the policy agenda in the Conservative election manifesto into laws in the Queen's Speech.

Mrs May is due to meet DUP leader Arlene Foster today to hammer out a deal to support the minority government.

The state of opening of parliament, in which the government sets out its legislative program in the queen's speech, is also expected to be delayed as the government finalizes its agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 MPs it requires to achieve a parliamentary majority.

He called for Mrs May to "very quickly" start the formal talks and appoint a negotiating team which is "stable, accountable and with a mandate".

But May faces a hard balancing act: Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party membership support a sharp break with the EU.

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Labour has announced its readiness to form its own government and lead the Brexit talks.

Speaking in an interview with various European publications, the European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that time is "passing quicker than anyone believes - because the subjects we need to deal with are extraordinarily complex from a technical, judicial and financial point of view".

Writing in the Sun newspaper on Monday, Johnson said: "To those that say the PM should step down, or that we need another election or even - God help us - a second referendum, I say come off it. Get a grip, everyone".

Davis suggested the government would focus on the divorce proceedings before moving on to trade.

May's courting of the DUP for a potential "confidence and supply" relationship around key votes has drawn criticism because of the party's stance on same-sex marriage and abortion.

"It is hard to overstate what a dramatic impact the current political uncertainty is having on business leaders, and the consequences could - if not addressed immediately - be disastrous for the United Kingdom economy", said Stephen Martin, the director-general of the IoD.

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"They're not compatible", he told BBC radio.

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