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Weakened UK Leader Theresa May Vows to Win 'Battle of Ideas'

  • Associated Press

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on modern working practices at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London, July 11, 2017.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday that she has to win a "battle of ideas" in Parliament and the country after losing her majority in last month's election.

In a speech both conciliatory and defiant, May urged her political opponents to contribute their "views and ideas" to help shape government policy.

May spoke nearly a year after taking office, and just over a month after she suffered a setback from voters in a June 8 snap election.

She acknowledged that the election result was "not what I wanted," but said she remained committed to building a fairer Britain as the country leaves the European Union.

May was speaking at the launch of a report on how to guarantee protections for the growing number of workers in the "gig economy."

May became prime minister on July 13, 2016 through a Conservative Party leadership contest after predecessor David Cameron resigned when voters decided, against his advice, to quit the EU. She called an early election in an attempt to bolster her majority and strengthen her authority during Brexit talks.

The gamble backfired when voters stripped the Conservatives of their majority in Parliament and boosted the number of seats held by the left-of-center Labour Party.

The result means May must rely on deal-making and compromises to pass legislation, and is struggling to persuade her party that she isn't a lame duck.

The election setback has led the government to abandon many of the pledges May campaigned on, including plans to reform secondary education and make seniors pay more for their long-term care.

Instead, the government says it will devote its energy to trying to pass the laws needed to pave the way for Brexit — due to take place in March 2019.

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