May’s ‘Thick of It’ speech plagued by misfortune…

People have poked fun at Theresa May’s nightmare speech at the Tory party conference after suffered a coughing fit and was targeted by a serial prankster. The Prime Minister endured an agonising 65 minutes on the stage in Manchester as she spluttered through an address that had been intended to relaunch her premiership. To the horror of Cabinet ministers and activists, the situation took another dramatic turn for the worse when comedian Lee Nelson managed to approach the podium and hand her a fake P45. To cap off the misery letters then began falling off the Conservative slogan positioned in full view of TV cameras behind Mrs May.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Pretty excruciating’: Tory conference reacts – The Guardian
  • Top team blamed for ‘farce’ as spluttering leader issued her P45 – The Times
  • ‘Notorious prankster’ issued security pass in his own name – Daily Mail
  • Chairman faces calls to resign as ‘comedian’ got within feet of May – Daily Telegraph


  • The Prime Minister’s speech unspun – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Well written, but it spun out of control – Sam Leith, FT


  • The worst nightmare for a woman like May is losing control – Judith Woods, Daily Telegraph
  • What this speech should have said – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Recent history has not seen a more calamitous performance – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • This puts an end to the idea May will fight the next election – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Determination to finish showed us her resilience – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • Courage is not enough, leadership needs luck too – Norman Tebbit, Daily Telegraph
  • I have never seen such staggering incompetence at any conference – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


  • I’ll be reliving the agony of that speech for the rest of my life – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Wretched, freakish luck, and agony to behold – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • It all goes a bit Frank Spencer for luckless leader – Patrick Kidd, The Times
  • My malarial week at the Conservative conference – Marina Hyde, The Guardian


  • The Prime Minister must recover to fight for Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • Luck as deserted May – The Times
  • Marred speech lacked ambition, but we admire her for fighting through it – The Sun
  • The Tories’ faltering voice – The Guardian


…as the Cabinet circle the wagons

“Cabinet ministers tried to rally round Theresa May last night after she struggled through the most difficult and dramatic speech of her political career. Last night, Mrs May’s performance alarmed some backbenchers and set off a fresh wave of speculation about her future, with one former minister labelling the speech ‘an absolute disaster’. Another MP said: ‘She’s in danger of becoming a figure of pity. That is fatal for a Prime Minister.’ But publicly, senior Tory figures rallied round, with a senior source revealing that Mrs May had also received private messages of support from a string of Cabinet ministers.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Distraught’ May could be gone by Christmas as 30 MPs plot to oust her… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but other MPs rally around their leader – The Sun
  • Tories discuss early leadership election – The Scotsman
  • Prime Minister on ‘final warning’ after shambolic speech – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: That pitiable conference, this directionless party – and the tale of Johnson’s lion and May’s frog

Nick Timothy: The whole party needs to get its act together, fast

“I will not use this column to dwell on the Prime Minister’s triple whammy of bad luck. More important is where the Conservative Party goes from here. Because the facts after the party conference season are these: Brexit remains the most pressing priority for the country; the demand for change at home is getting greater, not weaker; and Labour are proving themselves to be more and more extreme. Confronted with these challenges, the Conservatives failed to rise to the occasion at their conference, just as they have failed to do since the election result sparked their crisis of confidence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories face a choice: reinvention or oblivion – Iain Martin, The Times
  • May offers a new incarnation of wet, statist Tory thinking which must be stopped – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Remember they also wrote off Maggie – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
  • Boris has wrecked the Tories, and should own the wreckage – Ian Birrell, The Guardian
  • Johnson has plenty of ambition, but no courage – Jenni Russell, The Times
  • Labour has a once-in-a-generation opportunity and the Tories know it – Larry Elliott, The Guardian


Conservatives move to introduce opt-out organ donation

“All Britons may soon have to ‘opt out’ if they do not want their organs to be donated after death. In a surprise move, Theresa May yesterday announced plans to make it easier for doctors in England to take organs for transplants without explicit consent. In Wales, consent for organ donation is already presumed while people in England must still sign up to say they are happy for their organs to be used. The Prime Minister said there will now be a consultation on changing the rules. Supporters of the plan say it would boost donations and save lives. But critics say it is wrong to take body parts from those who have died when they may not have agreed in life.” – Daily Mail

  • Doctors hail ‘life-saving’ change – The Times

More policy:

  • Government to build 100 free schools a year – The Sun
  • May’s tribute to the man who helped her reform ‘stop and search’ – Daily Mail
  • Price cap sits heavily on heads of energy suppliers – The Times

>Yesterday: Alex Morton’s column: In praise of practical ideology

May’s ‘£2 billion mission’ for more housing

“Local authorities will be given funding to build a new generation of low-rent council homes, Theresa May announced yesterday as she dedicated herself to fixing the housing crisis. The prime minister said that the government would spend £2 billion to build 25,000 more council homes over the next five years. This should allow councils and housing associations to build about 5,000 houses a year, in addition to the 27,000 a year at present. The extra funding comes on top of the £7.1 billion committed until 2021. Mrs May also said that rules would be relaxed to allow councils in areas of high property prices to bid to build highly subsidised houses, that then could be rented at far below market rates.” – The Times

  • Tory leader warned that she must do more to address crisis – FT
  • New cash will only build 25,000 homes – The Sun


  • Crowds pack conference rooms to hear plans for more homes – Ruth Davison, Times Red Box
  • If we’re going to build more council houses, here’s how to make them beautiful – Nicholas Boys Smith, Daily Telegraph
  • Councils have a vital role to play – Lord Porter, Times Red Box
  • My generation needs a housing revolution, not empty promises – Dawn Foster, The Guardian
  • Conference exposes a party with no ideas and no future – John Healey, Times Red Box

Brexit 1) Ministers prepared to resign but profess to being optimistic

“Cabinet ministers warned that up to five of their colleagues could resign over Brexit as they revealed that they are still in the dark over Theresa May’s plans with only three months left until trade talks are likely to start. Senior figures are questioning whether the prime minister can hold her government together when she finally starts to try to forge cabinet consensus on the plans for Britain’s relations with the EU after 2021. Most cabinet ministers told The Times that they were optimistic about Brexit but admitted that they would never publicly set out the downsides because of the risk of being seen to run “Project Fear 2”. Several said there was still a huge gulf between Remain and Leave-supporting colleagues and some revealed their frustration that Mrs May has been blocking attempts to thrash out basic issues in meetings.” – The Times

  • Trump opposes UK-EU WTO deal in ‘blow to Brexit plans’… – FT
  • …but May insists that Britain is preparing for ‘no deal’ – The Sun

Brexit 2) Clegg urges people to join Labour to thwart departure

“Nick Clegg has advocated joining the Labour party, in his latest desperate plea to thwart Brexit. In a seemingly bizarre move, the former Liberal Democrat leader has written in his book that it is a necessary move for people to make in a ‘national emergency’. He went on to say that if people could not ‘stomach’ joining Labour, then they should instead join the Conservatives and in any future leadership contest they must ‘pressure your MP to support a pro-Remain candidate’. Yet despite urging readers to have an impact on Brexit in this way, he conceded that he would not be doing so himself, as a ‘lifelong card-carrying member’ of the Liberal Democrats.” – Daily Mail

  • Bank of England urges EU regulators to join forces on Brexit – FT
  • UK doesn’t need more low-skilled EU migrants, claims think-tank – Daily Mail

>Today: Andrew Green in Comment: Do we really need yet more EU workers?

News in Brief:

  • May must go – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • The Prime Minister struggles towards the finishing line – George Eaton, New Statesman
  • The Tories aren’t too white, they’re too blue – Lara Prendergast, The Spectator
  • Juncker has finally persuaded me to back Brexit – Stanley Johnson, Brexit Central
  • Catalonia demonstrates the folly of a United States of Europe – Marian L Tupy, CapX