May’s speech, in which she says sorry and tells the truth

by Hugo Dixon | 04.10.2017

Here’s the speech Theresa May should have given at the Tory conference.

“I had planned to say Brexit’s OK, the government’s OK and I’m OK. But then I decided to do something politicians rarely do: say sorry and tell the truth.

I’ve got a lot to say sorry about.

I should never have become prime minister without spelling out what Brexit means. I kept parroting the vacuous slogan: “Brexit means Brexit”. Instead, I should have explained that Brexit means hard choices.

I shouldn’t have gone back on my word not to call an election. I didn’t just lose my majority; I lost my reputation for honesty too.

Nor should I have used EU citizens living here as bargaining chips. This wasn’t just immoral; it got our talks with the EU off to a really bad start.

I am now going to try to make amends by telling the truth.

It was misleading to say: “no deal is better than a bad deal”. Crashing out with no deal would cause such mayhem that a deal would have to be really appalling for it to make sense to walk away.

We also need the EU more than it needs us. It’s much larger than us. That’s why I am having to make concessions. I’ve already indicated we’ll pay £18 billion to smooth the divorce. I’m going to have to promise at least the same again to get a deal.

I keep saying we can agree a deal covering our future relationship with the EU by the time we leave. That’s not true either. That’s why we need a transition period. What’s more, this will have to be longer than the two years I’ve promised. Otherwise, our economy will still fall off a cliff when it comes to an end.

The final deal is going to be even harder than the transition. The further we pull away from the EU’s single market, the more we’ll damage our prosperity. But the more we shadow the EU’s rules, the more we’ll lose control. And frankly, I haven’t got a clue what to do about Northern Ireland. How do we keep the border open with the Republic of Ireland if we quit the customs union?

Even before I negotiate with Brussels, I have to square the Cabinet. Boris says it’s a nest of singing birds. It’s actually a nest of vipers. Boris undermines me every time he opens his mouth. If I was strong enough, I would sack him.

People say I was close to a breakdown after the election. I’ve even been asked if I’m miserable. Well, here’s my final admission. I’m neither strong nor stable.

People may think I should quit as prime minister. If so, I am ready to go. But I believe in doing my duty. So, if the people want me to stay, that’s what I’ll do.

But, in future, I will try to tell the truth. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

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Edited by Luke Lythgoe

4 Responses to “May’s speech, in which she says sorry and tells the truth”

  • Pretty good piece but does not go far enough. What about the destruction of the NHS, neglect of any social housing program, reduction of disposable income , forcing communities to accept fracking, reduction of any real support for alternative energy, open warfare on the elderly and disabled, abuse of the courts and parliamentary processes?

    I’ll stop now. Somebody else pick it up from there please.

  • May and her small cabal of poisonous Brexiteers have become so mired in their own dishonesty and lies, they couldn’t see the truth if it hit them in the face.

  • Very Elegant of Hugo not to mention yesterday’s speech.

    Just to add to the complexity of the Person, let’ s have a look at what was said in April 2016:

    “But just look at the reality of our (UK) trading relationship with China – with its dumping policies, protective tariffs and industrial-scale industrial espionage. And look at the figures. We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and nearly 3 times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think we could just replace European trade with these new markets.”

    “We should be aiming to increase our trade with these markets in addition to the business we win in Europe. Given that British exports in goods and services to countries outside the EU are rising, one can hardly argue that the EU prevents this from happening. Leaving the EU, on the other hand, might make it considerably harder. First, we would have to replace 36 existing trade agreements we have with non-EU countries that cover 53 markets. … And while we could certainly negotiate our own trade agreements, there would be no guarantee that they would be on terms as good as those we enjoy now. There would also be a considerable opportunity cost given the need to replace the existing agreements – not least with the EU itself – that we would have torn up as a consequence of our departure.”


    I think such behavior may be referred to as overcompensating.

  • Well, I actually feel bad for her for once. Boris is a moron who’s only plan is to take power and abuse it, I feel like PM is being pushed to do such acts. Although, if the Tories step out and Labour goes in, I will follow Labour, I support Labour; but, this does allow her to improve, if she were to just sack Boris, I think things would clear up and she can listen to the public, not a hamster. I think it’s about time someone from that party speaks up and tells us, it’s not “Alright” and “Strong”, and seeing the PM do it, shows the is a real issue and threat and something needs to be done to solve it.