New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
13 July 2017

9 things Theresa May said she regrets – and 9 things she didn’t say

Quite a lot, but perhaps not enough.

By Julia Rampen

Theresa May shed “a little tear” when she heard the exit poll on that fateful election night in June, the Prime Minister revealed to Emma Barnett on BBC’s Radio 5 Live.

Regrets, May has had a few – and not too few to mention on air. But not that many either.

Thankfully, The Staggers can help. Here’s what she said… and what she could have said instead.

1. “Future opportunity”

What Theresa May said:

“There were things that I was saying that were being said… like the future opportunity, but looking back on the campaign I realise now, and regret, that we weren’t making more of that, that we weren’t doing more to get that message across.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

What she didn’t say: Half of Britain thinks we’re racist and our manifesto was miserable.

2. “The right thing”

What Theresa May said:

“ I had called the election, and I don’t regret calling it, I think it was the right thing to do at the time, I’d called it because of concerns about how we were going to go forward, particularly on Brexit.”

What she didn’t say: Never trust the pollsters.

3. “Housing ladder”

What Theresa May said:

“A couple of the issues that I think very clearly came through to me… during the election campaign was the concern that young people had about housing… were they ever going to get on the housing ladder.”

What she didn’t say: Shame we didn’t have anything to say about it at the time.

4. “People voting”

What Theresa May said:

“The message that I was getting was, still right through to the end, that this was going to be a different result from the one that we got… we saw a lot of people voting who’d never voted before.”

What she didn’t say: We assumed we’d get away with it because young people pissed off about Brexit wouldn’t vote. They did.

5. “Issues”

What Theresa May said:

“For a lot of students, there were issues around the question of their fees and, and university education.”

What she didn’t say: Bribing the Democratic Unionist Party is a hundredth of the price, but somehow, no one appreciates that.

6.“Vote share”

What Theresa May said:

“We – we didn’t do it [take the British public with us] to the level that I’d hoped to do it… we did get a higher percentage share of the vote than we have done for something like 25 years.”

What she didn’t say: As any Tory MP who lost their seat knows, it’s seats, not vote share, that counts.

7. “Any one person”

Emma Barnett: Was there anybody that you were most embarrassed to face in your moment of devastation?

What Theresa May said:

“I don’t think it was any one person that I felt I was most embarrassed to face.”

What she didn’t say: David “snap election” Davis should feel pretty embarrassed too.

8. “Good constituency MP”

What Theresa May said:

“One of the things that has happened is the terrible terrorist attack that took place in the Finsbury Park, which was of course in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency… I saw a Jeremy Corbyn there who was a good constituency MP, working with those people.”

What she didn’t say: And if he’d stayed a constituency MP, I’d feel a lot less devastated right now.

9. “Younger self”

What Theresa May said:

“I think what I would write to my younger self is: Believe in yourself. Always do the right thing. And, you know, work hard to tackle injustice when you see it.”

What she didn’t say: And never bloody call a snap election.

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy