Top aides to Theresa May resign after disastrous election results

Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill

Theresa May's top two aides have quit after the Conservative Party's poor showing in the United Kingdom election.

According to reports, May had been given an ultimatum by her own Conservative party colleagues that the pair had to go if she wanted to avert a leadership challenge on Monday.

May's co-chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, announced their resignations Saturday on the Conservative Home political blog.

The resignations will be a devastating blow to the Prime Minister, who has relied on their advice and protection since first entering the Cabinet as Home Secretary more than seven years ago.

Timothy said he accepted responsibility for his role in the Tory manifesto, criticised by many MPs.

May came under fire during the campaign for the controversial policy on the cost of care for the elderly, dubbed the "dementia tax", and for making several U-turns on social care.

May has said she intends to stay as prime minister despite failing to win a Conservative majority in the election. They quit Saturday after becoming a focus of blame for the Conservatives' election disaster.

"They really only know one way to operate and that's to have enemies and I'm sure I'm one of those this morning".

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Speaking on Friday, the prime minister said her party had a "strong relationship" with the DUP and that she meant to form a government which could "provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country".

Timothy had been widely blamed for the social care plan, over which May was forced to backtrack in the middle of the election campaign following signs it was hitting the party's core support.

Timothy and Hill both stepped down amid mounting pressure on May to overhaul the way No 10 worked and broaden her circle of advisers. A source said: 'I think the gruesome twosome must have received a leak because, before the poll was released, they started pulling people into rooms, then emerging looking shocked'.

In an indication of the unease within the party about the link-up with the DUP, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said she had demanded a "categoric assurance" from the Prime Minister that gay rights would not be affected by a deal. The source added: 'If Fiona had spent more time briefing against Jeremy Corbyn, and less time briefing against the Chancellor, then we might have achieved a better result'. And yet government insiders said the two presided over a "toxic and bullying" environment at Downing Street.

The ousting of the aides comes just a fortnight after The Mail on Sunday revealed that Cabinet Ministers were keeping notes of their private exchanges with Mr Timothy and Ms Hill - containing offensive language - and threatening to release them if they were sacked in a reshuffle.

Although Conservatives still hold more seats than any other party, May now must work to build some form of a coalition government in parliament.

"I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy program", he said.