Election 2017

Theresa May the strongest leader we have at the moment, David Jones says

David Jones
Image caption David Jones: "The prime minister has my full suppport"

Brexit Minister David Jones has backed Theresa May's arrangement with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists to keep the Conservatives in power.

She has faced calls from some Tories to step down for calling an early election which resulted in a lost majority.

"Theresa May is certainly the strongest leader that we have at the moment," said Clwyd West MP Mr Jones.

"Any criticism that she's somehow not acting in the interests of the country is completely wide of the mark."

The former Welsh Secretary, a prominent Brexit campaigner, had been sacked from the Cabinet by David Cameron but was brought back to government by Mrs May last summer when she took over as prime minister in the wake of the referendum on Europe.

He saw his majority in Clwyd West cut by almost half from 6,730 to 3,437.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Theresa May will stay in power with backing from the Democratic Unionists

Mr Jones told BBC Radio Wales it was the prime minister's "constitutional duty" to seek the Queen's permission to form a government, and defended her choice of partners.

"We have a strong affinity with the DUP in Northern Ireland, we're both unionist parties and I think she's right to explore an arrangement with the DUP that will make sure we have a majority government in this country," he said.

Mr Jones added: "It's quite clear that no one party commands an overall majority of parliament, and therefore she has to put together that coalition that we need in order to provide that stability.

"I think that so long as she does do that and provides that coalition then she should remain leader and prime minister."

Asked if Mrs May would be prime minister at the end of the year, he said: "That's impossible for me to say.

"What I would say is that the prime minister has my full support and I will be backing her all the way."

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