British Prime Minister Theresa May’s two closest aides announced their resignations Saturday after a crushing electoral setback that left her authority in tatters.
Senior members of the ruling Conservative party had reportedly made the departure of Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill a condition of allowing May to stay on after losing her parliamentary majority in Thursday’s vote.
But it will be another blow to the prime minister, who has been heavily reliant on their advice and support since her previous job at the interior ministry.
Timothy said he had resigned on Friday after the result was confirmed, and took responsibility for the Conservative manifesto, including a botched plan for elderly social care that caused a major backlash.
But he wrote on the ConservativeHome website: “The reason for the disappointing result was not the absence of support for Theresa May and the Conservatives but an unexpected surge in support for Labour.”
A party spokesman confirmed Hill had also resigned.
Timothy and Hill have been accused of creating a “toxic” atmosphere in Downing Street.
May’s former director of communications, Katie Perrior, had earlier recounted the “terrible” atmosphere at meetings attended by the pair, whom she said showed no respect for other staff or even ministers.
“I felt what the prime minister needs when you’re going through a tough time like negotiating Brexit is diplomats, not street fighters,” Perrior, who quit before the election, told BBC radio.
“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.”