May splutters through chaotic speech as her message falls apart behind her
THERESA MAY was said to have “confirmed her failure” as PM yesterday after she delivered a disastrous speech that was upstaged by a prankster, her own cough and a stage malfunction.
In the middle of her speech to Tory conference, comedian Simon Brodkin — also known as Lee Nelson — interrupted to give her a spoof P45, which stated it was “requested” by Foreign Secretary and leadership hopeful Boris Johnson.
After she accepted the P45, Mr Brodkin was removed by security guards while Tories shouted: “Get him out.”
Trying to gloss over the embarrassing ordeal, Ms May then used it as an opportunity to joke that she would like to give Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a P45.
The speech — in which she made dodgy promises of £2 billion to build a “new generation of council houses” and a pay cap on energy bills — was also blighted by her incessant cough, strained voice and the letter F falling off the slogan “Building A Country That Works For Everyone” on the backdrop behind her.
It is understood that only 25,000 new homes over the next five years, to be rented at “well below market level,” could be built with the additional cash that councils and housing associations will have to bid for.
Also, her aides suggested that the energy cap announcement could be redundant if regulator Ofgem decides on an effective price cap before the government’s draft Bill is published next week.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell pointed out that Ms May had made commitments totalling £15 billion by the time her speech was finished, without saying how the government would find the cash.
Ms May apologised to Tory activists for running an election campaign this year which was “too scripted, too presidential” and led to the loss of her Commons majority.
Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: “This was supposed to be the speech where Theresa May relaunched her flailing premiership, but it only confirmed her failure.
“She admitted Britain faces great problems but all she has to offer are watered-down versions of Labour’s ideas, reheated policies, and empty promises.
“On housing there were warm words but nowhere near enough action; on tuition fees she talked of a ‘review’ but failed to mention that the Tories trebled them to over £9,000; and on energy bills, she provided no clarity after months of confusion and U-turns.”
Mr Trickett pointed out that the spluttering PM also failed to put forward solutions to tackle the crisis in the ailing NHS, which has been run down by her own party.
“Rather than apologising to her party, Theresa May should have taken the opportunity to apologise to the public for a record of failure,” he said.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady described the speech as “thin gruel” and “a missed opportunity to outline the new deal for working people that Britain so desperately needs.”
The Radical Housing Network criticised the government for pumping £10bn into the Help to Buy scheme which “provides subsidies to a small number of people, and does nothing to address the chronic shortage of low-cost housing.”
It claims that the £10bn given to would-be homeowners could be enough to build the amount of social housing that is needed.
Ms May was further humiliated after her speech drew to a close as footage showed Home Secretary Amber Rudd ordering Mr Johnson to stand up and applaud his boss. Eventually he joined his Tory colleagues and delegates in a standing ovation.