PMs keynote speech interrupted by P45 prankster as she pledges cap on energy bills and 2bn investment in affordable housing
Theresa May said she wanted to offer voters the British dream but the most personal speech of her premiership was overshadowed by a prankster handing her a P45, an incessant cough and a stage malfunction.
The prime minister attempted to shift the focus from Brexit infighting to domestic policy on energy bills and council housing at the end of her partys annual conference, but at times struggled to deliver her words as her voice faltered.
Accepting a glass of water and cough sweet from the chancellor, Philip Hammond, May tried to relaunch her premiership with her vision for society, repeatedly telling delegates thats what Im in this for.
She also apologised for losing the Conservative majority in an election campaign that was too scripted, too presidential, saying: I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign. And I am sorry.
May offered delegates, who kept prolonging their applause in sympathy to help her voice to recover, a number of new policies as she:
- Accused the energy market of punishing loyalty with higher bills and promised to introduce draft legislation next week for an energy price cap covering 17 million families on standard variable rip-off rates. The legislation, which will be enacted if Ofgem fails to act, caused the share prices of Centrica and SSE to immediately fall.
- Promised to invest an additional 2bn in affordable housing, and get the government back into the business of building houses with a new generation of council homes, saying she would dedicate my premiership to fixing this problem. But critics said 25,000 additional homes in five years fell well short of what was needed.
- Announced an independent review of the Mental Health Act by Prof Simon Wessely.
The speech was designed to relaunch her rocky premiership, which has been shaken by divisions within her party over Brexit and the shock loss of a majority in Junes snap election.
However, it is likely to be remembered for the interruptions. The Conservative party has launched an investigation after comedian, Simon Brodkin, handed the prime minister a mocked up P45 and said to her: Boris told me to do it. He was evicted and subsequently arrested for breach of the peace.
May accepted the form, which gave reasons for termination that she was neither strong or stable… were a bit worried about Jezza, but then quipped that Corbyn was in need of a P45.
Later, the set behind the prime minister, which said: Building a country that works for everyone, broke, with an F and E falling to the ground.