UK 4 October 2017 The most excruciating moments in Theresa May’s speech Everything fell apart when the Prime Minister tried to address Conservative party conference. Getty Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up In her annual address to Tory conference, Theresa May started out feeling sorry for herself: “When people ask me why I put myself through it – the long hours, the pressure, the criticism and insults that inevitably go with the job – I tell them this: I do it to root out injustice and to give everyone in our country a voice.” But little did she know it was going to get a whole lot worse – and she wouldn’t be giving anyone a voice, especially not herself. Here’s what happened: The P45 protester Just as Theresa May was at the part of her speech where she attacked Labour (“NO, Jeremy Corbyn”), a protester – the comedian Simon Brodkin whose onstage persona is Lee Nelson – appeared at the lectern to hand May a P45, saying “Boris asked me to give this to you”. Watch the moment a comedian tries to hand @Theresa_May a P45 letter during her conference speech #CPC17 pic.twitter.com/egAel2lyxs — Sky News (@SkyNews) October 4, 2017 After about a minute’s kerfuffle in the hall, which brought the speech to a complete halt, Brodkin was taken out by security. Scuffle brings Theresa May's speech to a halt #CPC17 pic.twitter.com/MxT6dxLTmI — Anoosh Chakelian (@Anoosh_C) October 4, 2017 Police have arrested him for breach of peace, amid questions swirling around conference about the Prime Minister’s security. Here’s the P45 in question, which gives the “reason for termination” as “NEITHER STRONG NOR STABLE” and “WE’RE A BIT WORRIED ABOUT JEZZA”: The prankster’s P45, found by May’s lectern pic.twitter.com/RNVcqY9jXj — Robert Peston (@Peston) October 4, 2017 The conference cough Just as the Prime Minister got herself back on track – making a quip that she’d like to hand Jeremy Corbyn a P45 – she began to cough. And then cough some more. From this moment on, she struggled at numerous moments in her speech to even get the words out: .@Theresa_May struggles to get through her party conference speech after having a coughing fit #CPC17 pic.twitter.com/5suiMlnYif — Sky News (@SkyNews) October 4, 2017 #CPC17 pic.twitter.com/gRUi1w9Y5f — Andy Ha (@_AndyHa) October 4, 2017 In the end, the Chancellor handed her a lozenge – but it didn’t really help. Cue rather valiant ad-libbing about fiscal responsibility and cough sweets a few times as she spluttered and choked through the rest of the speech. (“I hope you noticed that, conference – the Chancellor giving something away for free…”). May has done 28 interviews and spoken at 19 receptions at this conference, so no wonder her throat was feeling rather sore. Unfortunately her conference cold kicked in early, but Alastair Campbell suggested she should have been prepared, tweeting that Tony Blair used to be treated by doctors before delivering speeches when fluey: There will be a lot of sympathy re her cough but it is also shocking preparation. Doctors can sort for an hour! — Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) October 4, 2017 Spilling water While drinking water to help with her cough, the Prime Minister spilt some on herself – something not lost on the audience, who tried to cover up the awkwardness with a standing ovation. Oh Lordy, now May has lost her voice. Keeps coughing. Has drink, spills water. Standing ovation to cover up awfulness of it. #awks — Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) October 4, 2017 The slogan falls apart – literally The backdrop of May’s speech was experiencing its own chaos, as the letter “F” fell off the “Building a country that works for everyone” slogan behind her: Now you see it, now you don't - watch the slogan behind @Theresa_May closely... pic.twitter.com/bAQvyLedGF — Sky News (@SkyNews) October 4, 2017 And then the last “E” went the same way, until this is what it looked like: #CPC17 pic.twitter.com/BpWp6a0pX5 — Reuters UK Politics (@ReutersLobby) October 4, 2017 Even gravity was against her. Boris told to stand and clap And of course, it wouldn’t be Tory conference 2017 without an intervention from Boris Johnson. Here’s a clip of him sitting among the rest of the cabinet, with Amber Rudd telling him to stand up with everyone else in applause: Amber Rudd telling Boris Johnson to stand for May pic.twitter.com/VGYeb5CroR — Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) October 4, 2017 Theresa May said her speech was about the “British Dream” – it turned out to be a real-life nightmare. › The Back Half #3: Morrissey, The Deuce and the Garbage Pail Kids Anoosh Chakelian is the New Statesman’s Britain editor. Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!