Bill English's words of wisdom to Theresa May: 'Stay paranoid'

Prime Minister Bill English says his UK counterpart might have learned an important lesson following her disastrous election campaign: "Stay paranoid."

Theresa May called a snap election in the UK, looking to extend the Conservative Party's majority and give her a strong mandate to lead the Brexit process.

Polls at the time suggested she'd win in a landslide, but a brutal election campaign saw Jeremy Corbyn's Labour claw back so many votes the Conservatives lost their majority and are now relying on the backing of a small Northern Irish party with links to paramilitary organisations.

"She's facing some real challenges," Mr English told The AM Show on Monday.

"I spoke to her a couple of nights ago, she's very focused on the job at hand."

Here in New Zealand, National has won three consecutive elections - none of them with a majority, always relying on minor party support.

"We're used to fine margins in election wins… we only ever run on a one- or two-vote majority."

The key he says is to "stay paranoid" - a lesson Ms May has learned the hard way.

"You can't rely on the polls, and we don't. We know we've got to make the case in this election for the right to govern."