Theresa May launches fight for her political career with 'unshakeable sense of purpose'

Prime Minister appeals to other political parties to 'come forward with your own views and ideas'

David Hughes
Monday 10 July 2017 10:27
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Damian Green says cooperation is 'grown up', but then attacks Labour

Theresa May is to insist she has the right vision for Britain and an "unshakeable sense of purpose" to build a fairer nation as she launches a fightback after her General Election gamble backfired.

The Prime Minister will acknowledge that the loss of her Commons majority means she will have to adopt a different approach to government, signalling she is prepared to "debate and discuss" ideas with her opponents.

But amid rumours of unrest within Tory ranks about her position, Ms May will insist her commitment is "undimmed" almost 12 months after entering Number 10 as Prime Minister.

Her comments in a speech on Tuesday will be viewed as an attempt to relaunch her premiership after the humiliation of the election result and the need to strike a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her administration in the Commons.

Ms May will return to her core message from when she succeeded David Cameron: a "commitment to greater fairness" and tackling "injustice and vested interests" in recognition that the EU referendum result was a "profound call for change across our country".

She will say: "Though the result of last month's General Election was not what I wanted, those defining beliefs remain, my commitment to change in Britain is undimmed; my belief in the potential of the British people and what we can achieve together as a nation remains steadfast; and the determination I have to get to grips with the challenges posed by a changing world never more sure.

"I am convinced that the path that I set out in that first speech outside Number 10 and upon which we have set ourselves as a Government remains the right one.

"It will lead to the stronger, fairer Britain that we need."

The fragile nature of Ms May's position in the Commons will not stop her being "bold", she will insist.

"I think this country needs a Government that is prepared to take the bold action necessary to secure a better future for Britain and we are determined to be that Government.

"In everything we do, we will act with an unshakeable sense of purpose to build the better, fairer Britain which we all want to see."

Her speech will come at the launch of a review she commissioned into modern employment practices, such as the rise of "gig economy" jobs with firms such as Uber and Deliveroo.

The review, led by Tony Blair's former policy adviser Matthew Taylor, is expected to set out a series of extra rights for those in insecure jobs but could also recommend shaking up the tax system to reduce the gap between employees and the self-employed.

Ms May will acknowledge that the General Election result will change the way she has to work in Parliament.

"When I commissioned this report I led a majority government in the House of Commons. The reality I now face as Prime Minister is rather different," she will say.

"In this new context, it will be even more important to make the case for our policies and our values, and to win the battle of ideas both in Parliament as well as in the country.

"So I say to the other parties in the House of Commons ... come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country.

"We may not agree on everything, but through debate and discussion - the hallmarks of our parliamentary democracy - ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found."

On Monday, Ms May will welcome Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull to Downing Street for talks on a range of issues.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "A major priority will be our security and defence cooperation, including on counter-terrorism, and our growing trade and investment relationship. You can expect both PMs to commit to strengthening the strong and historic partnership that we have."

Mr Turnbull's first official visit to the UK as prime minister will include an audience with the Queen and meetings with other ministers.

But he is no stranger to the UK - or to the Prime Minister - after studying at Oxford University at the same time as Ms May.

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said: "Theresa May has finally come clean and accepted the Government has completely run out of ideas. As a result they're having to beg for policy proposals from Labour.

"They're also brazenly borrowing Labour's campaign slogans. But no one will be fooled - the Tories are the party of the privileged few.

"This is further evidence that this Government can no longer run the country.

"Labour's popular policies were set out in our election manifesto. Whenever the game is finally up for the Tories, Labour stands ready to form a government that will truly work for the many, not the few."

The Lib Dems said Ms May's stance looked like a plea for help on Brexit from Labour but Jeremy Corbyn was already supporting Ms May's plans.

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "A call for Labour to contribute is superfluous. On the single biggest issue of our generation, Brexit, Corbyn isn't contributing, he is cheerleading."

The Scottish Government's Brexit minister, Michael Russell, said: "If the Prime Minister is genuinely interested in creating a consensus then Scotland should have a seat at the negotiations to leave the EU.

"This is a position not only overwhelmingly backed in Scotland but across the UK, including support from business leaders.

"The Scottish Government already put forward a range of proposals last December which the UK Government thought they could blithely ignore.

"But the election result was a comprehensive rejection of the Tory plans for an extreme hard Brexit. Single market membership - whether for the UK or Scotland - must now be back on the table."

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