PM faces stormy post-election Commons grilling


Theresa May faces her first Prime Minister's Questions since a disastrous general election amid apparent Cabinet splits over Brexit and anger over the deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up her minority government.

The usually raucous parliamentary event looks likely to be even more turbulent for Mrs May, with her authority severely diminished after the Tories lost their Commons majority.

It comes after Downing Street was forced to shut down public discussion on Brexit by senior Cabinet ministers on Tuesday. 

Brexit Secretary David Davis said any transitional period after leaving was likely to end in 2022 and described Chancellor Philip Hammond's previous comments on the potential exit timescale as "not quite consistent with one another".

Mr Hammond suggested last week that transitional arrangements could be in place for years, saying their length was a matter for negotiations.

And in a separate speech on Tuesday, the Chancellor took a sideswipe at Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's position of being in favour of "having our cake and eating it" by securing all the benefits of EU membership without the drawbacks, saying: "The question is not whether to have cake, or eat it or even who has the largest slice, the question that matters is whether we can be smart enough to work out how to continue collaborating together, to keep the cake expanding, for the benefit of all."

The comments came amid rife speculation that Mr Hammond, Mr Davis and Mr Johnson could attempt to take over from Mrs May if she quits or Tory MPs decide to move against her, with polls showing rapidly declining public support for the PM.

Mrs May also finds herself under pressure over a £1 billion deal with the DUP to prop up a Tory minority government, branded a "bung" by critics.

Scottish and Welsh MPs could choose to seize on the agreement at PMQs, which is preceded by Northern Ireland questions, where the issue is almost certain to arise.

Later, Mrs May will face the first test of her ability to win votes in the Commons, with Labour challenging the Tories to back an amendment to the Queen's Speech calling for an end to cuts to police and fire services in the wake of recent terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Jeremy Corbyn has said the vote will be a test case for MPs' approach to austerity, amid signals from senior Tories that the Government is set to boost public spending.