The Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are still in talks over a potential supply and confidence deal to keep Theresa May in government, it emerged on Sunday (11 June).

The development comes after Downing Street reportedly issued a statement "in error" claiming that the parties had brokered a deal. But Number 10 later released another statement clarifying that the Tories and the Northern Irish unionists are still negotiating.

"The Prime Minister has tonight spoken with the DUP to discuss finalising a confidence and supply deal when Parliament returns next week," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

"We will welcome any such deal being agreed, as it will provide the stability and certainty the whole country requires as we embark on Brexit and beyond.

"As and when details are finalised both parties will put them forward."

The apparent gaffe came after Nick Timothy and FIona Hill, May's top aides, quit Number 10 following a cohort of senior Conservative MPs urging the prime minister to sack the chief-of-staffs or face a leadership challenge on Monday.

Gavin Barwell, the pro-EU former housing minister who lost his London seat at the election, has been appointed as May's new chief-of-staff.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has denied a report in the Mail on Sunday that he plans to launch a leadership bid against May.

"I am backing Theresa may. Let's get on with the job," he told his Twitter followers. But the Sunday Times has claimed that a number of cabinet ministers have urged the former Mayor of London to topple the wounded prime minister.

Johnson had planned to run against May in the 2016 Conservative leadership contest, but Michael Gove, his campaign chief, dramatically decided to ditch him and make a leadership of his own. Gove's move meant Johnson had to abort his leadership plans.

The developments, a result of the Conservatives failing to secure a majority at the election, come just over a week before the exit negotiations between the UK and the EU begin. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who increased his party's vote share to 40% and won 30 extra seats, has urged May to resign.

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