Theresa May has told Conservative lawmakers she would serve as prime minister as long as they wanted her after a botched election gamble cost the party its majority in parliament and weakened Britain's hand days before formal Brexit negotiations.
With British politics thrust into the deepest turmoil since last June's shock Brexit vote, EU leaders were left wondering how divorce talks would open next week.
Despite her party's expectations of a landslide victory Ms May lost her majority in parliament, pushing her into rushed talks on a support agreement with a small Eurosceptic Northern Irish Protestant party with 10 parliamentary seats.
But despite the catastrophic election result, senior members of Ms May's cabinet are publicly backing their leader.
Seeking to set the tone, David Davis, the cabinet member in charge of European Union exit negotiations, says speculation about her removal is "unbelievably self-indulgent."
Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, tipped as a leading candidate to succeed Ms May if she steps down, also backed her on Monday.
"There can be no backsliding from the objectives the PM set out in the [election] campaign - taking back control of our laws, our borders, our cash; but also ensuring that we have a great new partnership with the EU that allows us to trade more freely and enthusiastically than ever," Mr Johnson wrote in the right-wing tabloid The Sun.
Ms May faced her lawmakers at a meeting of the 1922 Committee on Monday. Despite anger at the election, she was cheered briefly at the start of the meeting.
Ms May appeared contrite, sought to apologise for her failed election gamble and gave an explanation of what went wrong.
"She said 'I'm the person who got us into this mess and I'm the one who is going to get us out of it,'" one Conservative lawmaker said after the meeting.
"She said she will serve us as long as we want her."
While some members of her party have said she will have to go eventually, Ms May is expected to stay on as prime minister at least for now.
Ms May has promised to start the formal Brexit talks next week but her authority has collapsed since the election result and opponents took her woes as a chance to push back against her Brexit strategy
During the campaign, Ms May cast herself as the only leader competent enough to navigate the tortuous Brexit negotiations that will shape the future of the United Kingdom and its $2.5 trillion economy.
She mocked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist, as incompetent and unrealistic, but his electoral campaign energised the youth vote and wiped out the Conservatives' majority in parliament.
Ms May plans a clean break from the EU, involving withdrawal from Europe's single market and customs union and limits on immigration from the EU.
Before the government can do anything it must finalise a deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Ms May is due to meet its leader Arlene Foster on Tuesday.