Theresa May’s 5Live masochism strategy - the PM's most painful moments

Written by David Singleton on 23 November 2018 in Diary

Watch: May got accused of 'political waffle' by one caller, while another said she had ignored the public for two years.

So much for Theresa May’s latest PR offensive. In another desperate bid to get support for her Brexit plan, someone at Number 10 thought it would be a good idea for the prime minister to take part in a public phone-in on BBC Radio 5Live.

Alas, it may not have got quite to plan.

In a bid to sound like she understands public feeling on Brexit, the prime minister made a point of voicing one of the more vacuous sentiments of modern times.

“I think for most people out there, they just want us to get on with it,” she said, vacuously.





At one point, a listener called Michael wanted to know if the PM believed that her deal was better than staying in the EU. He asked her to answer the question without any “political waffle or convoluted answer”.

But instead of doing that May stressed that she believed she had got a good deal for the UK and recalled a Brexity remark that she had made during the referendum campaign more than two years ago.

At the end of May’s minute-long answer, host Emma Barnett asked Michael whether he believed that the prime minister had answered his question. “No,” came the answer.





Another caller had a more hostile tone from the start. Apparently speaking up for the 48% who voted Remain in the referendum, Heather asked: "Having ignored the public for two years, how can we trust you now?"

May said that actually she had listened to the verdict of the people on 23 June.

Apparently forgetting that she had appointed two hard Brexiteers as Brexit secretary, May also claimed that she had tried to “recognise some of the concerns that people who voted remain had about our future”.





But most media write-ups of May’s masochism strategy focused on the fact that she repeatedly refused to rule out resigning if her Brexit deal fails to gain approval in the Commons.

During the phone-in on 5Live, the prime minister was asked three times to clarify if she would stake her premiership on the result of the parliamentary vote.

“I’m not thinking about me,” she said. “I’m thinking about getting a deal through that is good for the country. My focus is on getting this deal through.”

Number 10 communications chiefs are unlikely to be chalking this one up as an overwhelming success story. Unless the plan was to try and make even more people feel sorry for the PM...


















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