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Theresa May speech bedevilled by the 'F' in set, P45 prank and cough

Boris asked me to give you this: Comedian hands Theresa May fake P45

By Jonathan Bell

It was a speech about renewal and the British dream but instead it was a nightmare and one Theresa May will want to quickly forget.

The Prime Minister's keynote address at the Conservative party conference was marred by a comedian's interruption, a nagging cough and part of the set falling off.

"Boris asked me to give you this," comedian Simon Brodkin told the Prime Minister as he handed her a fake P45 during the speech. His Lee Nelson character has in the past invaded high profile press events, most memorably at a FIFA conference in which he threw bundles of fake cash over the football chief Sepp Blatter.

He then turned to Boris Johnson sitting in the crowd and gave him the thumbs up. Mrs May stopped her speech and the crowd started shouting at the man to "get out".

Amid frantic scenes he was bundled out of the conference hall and through the exhibition stands by security staff at the Manchester Central venue.

As he was led away, Mrs May said: "I'd like to give someone a P45... Jeremy Corbyn."

The 'P45' that comedian Simon Brodkin, aka prankster Lee Nelson, handed to Prime Minister. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Mrs May keynote address was then constantly interrupted by coughing. At times party delegates gave her applause to help her through. Sky News reported that as members of the cabinet rose to their feet the Chancellor Philip Hammond turned to tell Boris Johnson he too should get to his feet.

The chancellor later approached the podium and handed Mrs May a cough sweet. "Not often you get something for nothing from the chancellor," she quipped.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the cough would become one of the most famous coughs in British politics but he was confident she would lead the party into the next election.

Prime Minister Theresa May is handed a cough sweet during her keynote speech. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Later in the speech a part of the set fell off. The 'F' in the slogan 'Building a country that works for everyone' just over Mrs May's shoulder in the background hit the ground midway through. The 'e' at the end of everyone also fell off.

Opening Theresa May apologised for the party's poor showing in the June election which saw here party lose its majority in the Commons. She told the conference she was sorry for the June election and not getting the victory "we wanted".

The Prime Minister told the conference their election campaign "fell short" because it was "too scripted and too presidential".

Letters begin to fall off the backdrop as Theresa May delivers keynote speech. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

It's the first party conference the party has held since it struck a confidence and supply deal with the DUP to run a minority government. However, there was no mention of Northern Ireland throughout.

She did however, mention same-sex marriage and how the Tories got it on the statute books and how she was a proud unionist and the June election result ended nationalist ideas of breaking up the UK.


From Belfast Telegraph