Theresa May’s 2 chiefs of staff resign in wake of disastrous UK election campaign

Theresa May’s chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy have resigned after a disastrous Conservative Party campaign which weakened the Tories’ position in parliament. The prime minister has since announced Gavin Barwell is her new chief of staff.

May’s leadership of the party is already under threat and rumors circulated widely that heads would roll after the Pyrrhic victory that left the Conservatives clinging to power.

Fiona Hill made a brief statement Saturday on the party website, Conservative Home:

“It’s been a pleasure to serve in government, and a pleasure to work with such an excellent Prime Minister. I have no doubt at all that Theresa May will continue to serve and work hard as Prime Minister – and do it brilliantly.”

Timothy elaborated more on his decision to resign in an online statement.

He claimed that it was not a lack of support for incumbent PM May, but “an unexpected surge in support for Labour,” that led to the election disappointment for the Tories.

Timothy also took responsibility for the election campaign failure and blamed “oversight of policy programme” and poor communication of the conservative platform to undecided voters for the ultimate loss.

“In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care,” Timothy stated in reference to the notorious “dementia tax” fiasco which severely damaged the Conservative campaign.

“I would like to make clear that the bizarre media reports about my own role in the policy’s inclusion are wrong: it had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project,” he added.

He concluded by calling for unity within the Conservative Party and urged members to back May through this “difficult period.”

Later Saturday, May announced she has appointed Gavin Barwell, the Croyden Central MP who lost his seat in the election, as her new chief of staff.

Barwell, who was housing minister until the election upset, will replace Timothy and Hill.

May said she was “delighted” to announce that Barwell had accepted his new role.

"He has been a first class minister and is widely respected,” she said. “He will bring considerable experience of the party to the post. As I said yesterday, I want to reflect on the election and why it did not deliver the result I hoped for. Gavin will have an important role to play in that. I look forward to working with him."

Former Downing Street director of communications Katie Perrior lambasted the ex-chiefs of staff for their “rude, abusive [and] childish behaviour” in a scathing article published online in the Times, and for measuring success by “how many enemies they had clocked up.”

She described her tenure in No.10 Downing Street as a “painful ten months” filled with meetings where staffers would sit in silence “while Fiona would raise some batshit crazy idea.”