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Theresa May calls for 'strength and unity' after warning ministers over leaks

Posted July 18

Britain's embattled Prime Minister Theresa May has urged senior ministers to come together and keep the details of their meetings private in an effort to halt the leaks emanating from government officials.

May made the plea Tuesday after a week in which British media has been awash with stories quoting unnamed cabinet sources as well as constant speculation over her leadership.

May's position has been under scrutiny ever since she lost her governing majority in last month's disastrous snap election -- an election she called to secure a mandate for negotiations to leave the European Union.

While there has been constant speculation over which members of her cabinet may be jockeying to replace her, the most recent leaks have hinted at infighting between cabinet ministers.

"There is a need to show strength and unity as a country and that starts around the cabinet table," the Prime Minister told ministers.

May: End the 'backbiting' and 'carping'

May told her cabinet that the recent stories that included details of cabinet meetings were "a case of not taking their responsibilities seriously," said the Prime Minister's spokesman.

The move comes after a Daily Telegraph report on Sunday quoted one unnamed minister claiming that Chancellor Philip Hammond was trying to "f*** up" Brexit.

There were also reports that Hammond was reprimanded by May for saying that women could "even" be train drivers -- an allegation he vehemently denies.

On Sunday, Hammond appeared on UK television and accused cabinet rivals of attempting to undermine his plans for Brexit.

May has grown tired of what she termed "backbiting" and "carping" that have plagued her cabinet over the past week.

Speaking at a Conservative Party event on Monday, she told her members of Parliament to prepare for "serious business" after Parliament's recess.

She is also reported to have told lawmakers that any mistakes could allow Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to seize power.

May under pressure at home and abroad

May remains in a volatile position, with her government propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

The -1 billion ($1.3 billion) deal that secured the 10 votes of the DUP in the House of Commons has been widely criticized by her opponents.

May is also under pressure abroad, with the second stage of the Brexit talks taking place in Brussels this week.

European leaders have been critical of Britain's approach to the negotiations and of May's plans for the three million EU citizens currently living in the UK.

But speaking to ITV on Tuesday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd insisted May enjoyed the full support of her cabinet.

"She is respected by the cabinet, she is our Prime Minister, we do have 54 more seats than Labour and we are getting on with the job in hand."

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