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Theresa May manages not to mention 'Chequers' during passionate plea to mend broken party and divided nation

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she wants a good Brexit agreement but said "Britain isn't afraid to leave with no deal if we had to".

Delivering her highly-anticipated speech, which managed to avoid mentioning "Chequers", she acknowledged a no-deal Brexit would be a "bad outcome for the UK and the EU".

"It would be tough at first, but the resilience and ingenuity of the British people would see us through," she said.

She said her proposals would allow "frictionless trade in goods" while also protecting "our precious Union", with no change at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

She took a swipe at Boris Johnson, who reportedly said earlier this year "f*** business" after concerns were raised about Brexit.

She told activists: "To all businesses, large and small, you may have heard that there is a four-letter word to describe what we Conservatives want to do to you.

"It has a single syllable. It is of Anglo-Saxon derivation. It ends in the letter k.

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Prime Minister Theresa May dances a few steps as she takes the stage to give her keynote address on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference

"Back business. Back them to create jobs and build prosperity. Back them to drive innovation and improve lives.

"Back them with the lowest corporation tax in the G20.

"Britain, under my Conservative government is open for business."

She had made an upbeat start to her keynote speech by shimmying on stage to Abba's Dancing Queen.

Mocking the dance moves she made during a recent visit to Africa, which went viral, the Prime Minister arrived in the hall throwing some shapes as the crowd cheered.

Mrs May acknowledged a no-deal Brexit would be a "bad outcome for the UK and the EU".

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Theresa May
A large queue is seen outside the main hall ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May's speech later today at the Conservative Party Conference on October 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Andrea Leadsom arrives ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on the final day of the Conservative Party Conference at The International Convention Centre on October 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England.
Michael Gove and Esther McVey (R) arrive at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, on October 3, 2018 on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference.
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom arrives from the hotel to the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, on October 3, 2018 on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond arrives with staff from the hotel to the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, on October 3, 2018 on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference 2018.
Theresa May arrives with her husband Philip May ahead of her speech on the final day of the Conservative Party Conference at The International Convention Centre on October 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England.
Theresa Mayat the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. October 3, 2018.
Prime Minister Theresa May dances a few steps as she takes the stage to give her keynote address on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference
Theresa Mayat the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. October 3, 2018.
Theresa Mayat the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. October 3, 2018.

"It would be tough at first, but the resilience and ingenuity of the British people would see us through," she said.

Defending her Brexit plan, she said it would allow "frictionless trade in goods" while also protecting "our precious Union", with no change at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Mrs May's speech last year was beset by a series of disasters - a prankster served her with a joke P45, she suffered a coughing fit and the letters on the set behind her fell off as she ploughed on with her address.

The PM told Tory activists: "Can I just say, you will have to excuse me if I cough during the speech.

"I've been up all night super-gluing the backdrop."

She used the speech to pay tribute to those who died in the First World War, which ended 100 years ago and also highlighted the efforts to rebuild in the wake of the Second World War "where former enemies become friends".

Mrs May said: "We must recapture that spirit of common purpose because the lesson of that remarkable generation is clear: if we come together there is no limit to what we can achieve.  Our future is in our hands."

She also joked: "It's not always glamorous. I have seen the trailers for Bodyguard - and let me tell you it was not like that in my day."

The PM highlighted abuse faced by politicians, including the high volume of racist and misogynistic messages sent to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond arrives with staff from the hotel to the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, on October 3, 2018 on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference 2018.

She said: "You don't have to agree with a word Diane Abbott says (in order) to believe passionately in her right to say it free from threats and abuse."

Mrs May warned polarised politics can result in "good people being put off" public service, adding: "It doesn't have to be this way."

She added: "Let's rise above the abuse, let's make a positive case for our values that will cut through the bitterness and bile that is poisoning our politics - and let's say it loud and clear, Conservatives will always stand up for a politics that unites us rather than divides us."

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Michael Gove and Esther McVey (R) arrive at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, on October 3, 2018 on the fourth and final day of the Conservative Party Conference.

The Prime Minister used the speech to lash out at Labour, highlighting the anti-Semitism row which has hit the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

"What has befallen Labour is a national tragedy," she said. "What has it come to when Jewish families today seriously discuss where they should go if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister?  When a leading Labour MP says his party is 'institutionally racist'?

"When the leader of the Labour Party is happy to appear on Iranian state TV but attacks our free media here in Britain? That is what Jeremy Corbyn has done to the Labour Party. It is our duty, in this Conservative Party, to make sure he can never do it to our country."

 Tthe Conservatives would be "a party for the whole country".

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Andrea Leadsom arrives ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on the final day of the Conservative Party Conference at The International Convention Centre on October 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

She said: "A party not for the few, not even for the many, but for everyone who is willing to work hard and do their best."

The Conservatives "must be a party that is not in thrall to ideology, but motivated instead by enduring principles".

The Prime Minister said her principles could be summed up in three words: security, freedom and opportunity.

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