Theresa May speaks out on Brexit… and being a 'bloody difficult woman'

Written by David Singleton on 4 October 2016 in Diary

The prime minister reflected on her 'interesting debates' with Ken Clarke.

Theresa May has admitted there will be tough times ahead as the UK leaves the European Union.

And she has also admitted Ken Clarke that might have been right to describe her as “bloody difficult”.

As she embarked on a round of media interviews on Tuesday morning, the prime minister welcomed the early signs that the UK had not suffered the economic shock which many on the Remain side had forecast. But she also warned:

"It’s not going to be plain sailing. There will be some bumps in the road as we go through this process.

“The economic data we’ve seen so far over the last few weeks has been more positive than people were expecting… But I recognise the concern that business has to want to see a smooth process as we go through these negotiations and transition to coming out of the European."

Her comments were seized upon by the Liberal Democrats. Leader Tim Farron said: “Theresa May this morning spoke about ‘bumps in the road’. These ‘bumps’ as she blithely calls them, are people’s jobs and livelihoods. She seems as out of touch as her ministers.

“Her senior ministers seem to be unfazed when business leaders warn them, to their face, that 75,000 jobs in the City alone could be lost due to a Hard Brexit. The Conservative party are showing their true colours: reckless, divisive and uncaring.”

At the end of her interview round, May was asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari if she was happy to be described by Clarke as a “bloody woman”. The Tory veteran was filmed earlier this year making disobliging comments about four top Tories, apparently unaware that the camera was rolling. Clarke had clashed with May when she was home secretary and he was justice secretary.

May told Ferrari: “Actually what he said, and I don’t normally swear, was I was a ‘bloody difficult woman’.”

Pressed on whether Clarke’s statement was accurate, she said:

“Well, you know, Ken and I had our interesting debates in the past, and I stand by doing what I believe to be the right thing. And if standing up for what you believe to be right is being ‘bloody difficult’, then so be it.”


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