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Ministers warn PM ‘to consult with Cabinet and backbenchers more closely’

Sir Michael did not rule out the possibility of co-operating with the Labour Party over the negotiations.

Ministers have warned Theresa May that she must consult more closely with the Cabinet and with Tory backbenchers following her General Election humiliation, one of the most senior members of the Government said.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the Prime Minister recognised that she would have to adopt a more collective approach after seeing her Commons majority swept away.

Sir Michael, who was one of the first ministers to be confirmed in his post by Mrs May on Friday, welcomed the resignation of her co-chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill – blamed by some in the party for the election debacle.

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Theresa May's former advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. (Rick Findler/PA)

“Clearly a minority government requires a different approach. You have already seen some changes of personnel in Downing Street. I welcome that of course,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“We are going to see, I hope, more collective decision-making in the cabinet. I and other senior colleagues have made that clear to her.

“I think you will also see that she will want to work much more closely with the parliamentary party both in the conduct of business and the development of policy.”

Sir Michael insisted the election result would not affect the Government’s approach to forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

However, after Chancellor Philip Hammond reportedly told Mrs May she needed to concentrate more on preserving jobs – in an intervention seen as a coded criticism of her focus on immigration – he acknowledged the need to work with business.

“We want to work with business on this. It is very, very important that we are careful about the existing trade we do with Europe, about access to the single market in whatever new arrangement that we come to,” he said.

“It is also important that we don’t lose the co-operation between our intelligence services, between our police forces, the security co-operation we have with Europe.”

Sir Michael did not rule out the possibility of co-operating with the Labour Party over the negotiations.

“I welcome the fact the Labour Party have shifted their view now and do not seem to be calling for a new referendum,” he said.

“They, like us, I hope now want to have a successful Brexit, an agreement that works for us, that works for the European Union, that does not jeopardise the jobs and trade we do with Europe, but still implements the overall result of the referendum last year.”

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