Theresa May will remain the British prime minister until at least 2020 and could even fight another national election, the country’s transport minister Chris Grayling has predicted.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, published on Saturday, Grayling said he was confident May would remain in the job once the British exit from the EU has been achieved in March 2019 because “she commands the overwhelming support of the Conservative Party.”
When asked whether he thought May would still be PM in 2020, Grayling said, “I absolutely want her to be and I think she will be.”
May’s Conservatives were enjoying a record surge in April in the polls when she opportunistically called for a snap election in hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her position before going into two years of intense negotiations with the European Union about Britain’s departure from the bloc.
However, May’s election gamble spectacularly backfired. British voters dealt her a devastating blow on June 8, wiping out her parliamentary majority. The opposition Labour Party, meanwhile, picked up dozens of seats.
May was forced to seek a contentious supply-and-confidence agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which won 10 seats, in a bid to cling to power – at the cost of £1 billion.
Chris Grayling arrives at Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, July 14, 2016. (Reuters photo)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to “try to force an early general election” after May lost her parliamentary majority.
Corbyn has said it’s “ludicrous” to suggest May could stay in power and that his party “will challenge this government at every step and try to force an early general election.”
Grayling, who was May’s campaign manager in 2016 when she won the Conservative Party leadership, said she might contest another election.
“Who knows? We’ll see further down the road what happens, but ultimately I think it will be her choice, as it should for any prime minister about how long they want to serve,” he said.