Apologizing for a June election when she lost her Conservative Party's majority, Prime Minister Theresa May responded to her critics on Sunday by saying she had the right strategy to lead Britain and win a Brexit deal.
May, who has faced calls from within her party to step down, wants to use the Conservatives' annual conference in the northern English city of Manchester this week to try to reset her agenda, offering money to students and those people she once described as "just about managing" in Britain.
In an interview with BBC television, she played down the rifts among top ministers, saying they were united on their programme and more importantly Brexit. That came a day after foreign minister Boris Johnson, perhaps May's biggest rival, set out four personal red lines in the complex talks with the EU.
"We've listened to the message that came from that election. But I've been very clear, I called the election, I led the campaign, I take my responsibility and I'm sorry that some very good members of parliament lost their seats," May said in an appeal to those party members still angry over the vote.
"What I have is a cabinet that is united in the mission of this government ... and agreed on the approach that we took in Florence," May said about a speech she made in Italy last month to try to kick-start Brexit talks that had all but stalled.
"Boris is absolutely behind the Florence speech and the line that we have taken."
Divisions in her cabinet have broken out into the open, with ministers using the British media to air their differences on not only Brexit, but the government's approach to austerity — with many in the ruling party concerned about the growing appeal for the main opposition Labour Party.
After ministers agreed to seek a transition period following Britain's departure from the EU in March 2019, Johnson said on the eve of the conference that this should last for two years at most; that Britain should not accept new EU or European Court of Justice rulings during transition; must not make payments for single market access when the transition ends; and should not agree to shadow EU regulations to gain access.