Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
4 October 2017

Video: Theresa May accepts a P45 in the middle of her nightmare conference speech

The PM's speech was interrupted by a prankster. But that was only the start of her nightmare.

By media mole

In October 2016, Theresa May had the Daily Mail in a swoon with her Conservative party conference speech. There were no such thing as “citizens of the world”, she declared, as she set out her pitch to become the first Brexit prime minister.

One year and a lost Tory majority later, May apologised for an election campaign that was “too scripted”.

If delegates were hoping for a speech that offered something different, they got it. 

May was halfway through her speech, when someone who initially appeared to be an aide handed her a piece of paper, and claimed it was “from Boris”. It turned out to be a P45 form. 

In fact, the aide was a comedian, Simon Brodkin (better known as Lee Nelson), who was ushered out of the conference hall. 

May recovered, eventually, with a joke about wanting to give Jeremy Corbyn a P45, which everyone kindly laughed at, but then she started coughing. And when she reached for her glass, she splashed the water. And coughed some more. 

Eventually, Chancellor Philip Hammond handed her a cough sweet. Which, as anyone who has ever had to make the keynote speech at the Conservative party conference with a sweet in their mouth would know, doesn’t really help.

As for the P45 form, found by May’s lectern, it claimed to be requested by “Boris Johnson”. 

In a final horror, minutes before the speech ended, the “f” fell off the “Building a country that works for everyone” slogan behind her.

Inevitably, the Photoshops have started: