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UK's May fights for future after election woes, Brexit rift

photo by AP photo

Britain\'s Prime Minister Theresa May, centre, and her husband Philip arrive for the Conservative Party Conference at the Manchester Central Convention Complex in Manchester, England on Sunday.

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04th-Oct-2017       
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AP, Manchester :
Britain's governing Conservatives are holding their first conference since being re-elected in June, but they're not in a celebratory mood.
The party's grip on power is tenuous, its support base is aging, and its government is deeply divided over Brexit. For Prime Minister Theresa May, the annual gathering is a make-or-break chance to bring her fractious party into line and stop rivals trying to grab her crown.
Political scientist Tim Bale says May has little chance of "turning things around" with her keynote conference speech. "I think it's just a case of stopping the rot."
May is due to address the center-right party Wednesday. Delegates will hear Tuesday from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has been accused of undermining May by laying out his own roadmap for Britain's EU exit.
Prime Minister Theresa May set out her quest to tackle social and racial injustice on Tuesday, hoping to shift the focus of her Conservative party's annual conference away from rifts over Britain's exit from the European Union and her leadership.
After a bruising start to the party's annual meeting in the city of Manchester, May will try to reset the agenda after remarks on Brexit policy by foreign minister Boris Johnson that deepened divisions in her top team of advisers.
She said an audit will be published on Oct. 10 spelling out the "uncomfortable truths" of life in Britain, showing how people of different racial backgrounds are treated in the health, education, employment and the criminal justice system.
Her ministers will also announce policies to try to prove critics wrong and show that her government is working, including measures to toughen sentences of people streaming or browsing extremist material, and to increase nurse training.
"In doing this ground-breaking work we are holding a mirror up to our society," May said in a statement.
"My most fundamental political belief is that how far you go in life should be based on your talent and how hard you work - and nothing else."
But in early morning broadcast interviews, May was repeatedly asked about her relationship with Johnson after he set out four personal red lines for the Brexit negotiations to unravel more than 40 years of union.
"I don't set red lines," May told BBC television, describing her cabinet of top ministers as united over Brexit.
"Leadership is about ensuring that you have a team of people who aren't yes men, but a team of people of different voices around the table so that we can discuss matters, come to an agreement and then put that government view forward, and that is exactly what we've done."
May promised to build a "country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few" when she became prime minister just over a year ago after Britons voted narrowly to leave the EU and her predecessor David Cameron stepped down.

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