Theresa May speech reaction as Prime Minister pledges to end austerity

Theresa May speech reaction as Prime Minister pledges to end austerity

Theresa May speech reaction as Prime Minister pledges to end austerity

"If we get it wrong, if we bottle Brexit now, believe me, the people of this country will find it hard to forgive", Johnson told the hundreds of Conservatives who queued to get a seat in a hall just across from the main venue where May will address the party's annual conference on Wednesday.

The so-called "freedom rally" in front of a packed 1,500 auditorium had the desired effect of plonking Mr Johnson in the full glare of the media spotlight for a full 48 hours and thereby eclipsing the entire Tory frontbench on the official stage.

In a fiery speech at the conference on Tuesday, the former Cabinet minister who had resigned over May's Brexit strategy said "Chequers is a cheat", which would “escalate the sense of mistrust” people have about politicians.

And there are signs today that she is preparing to make further concessions to Brussels in a bid to unblock the Brexit talks. She emphasised it initially in the context of World War I commemoration, remarking that the lesson we ought to learn from that generation is "if we come together there is not limit to what we can achieve - our future is in our hands". "We are entering the toughest phase of the negotiations", May said, drawing firm applause.

Divisions over May's Brexit plans, known as the "Chequers plan" (which have also been rejected by the European Union as unworkable and undermining of the EU's principles) have led to increasing speculation that May could face a leadership challenge and even another general election. And our message to them must be this: "we get it", May said.

The DUP, which has been hedging its bets on the Tory leadership, should guard against being seduced by the disloyal narcissist Johnson, who is actively campaigning for the prime minister to ditch her Chequers plan. She acknowledged that this would cause an increase in public debt.

Her words were aimed at easing the growing frustration of some Conservatives who openly say their party is directionless, unable to set an agenda against the divisive rows over Brexit between competing wings of the party. And many in her own Conservative Party oppose it, too. Forty-eight such letters are needed to trigger a vote of confidence in the leader.

But Wednesday's speech seemed to have gone down well among the party faithful.

A leading Tory Brexiteer has issued a new warning to Theresa May that she faces a Commons defeat if she presses ahead with her Chequers blueprint for Brexit. "Firmness of goal, clarity and conviction - European Union friends do not underestimate!"

Media commentators, usually ultra-critical of leaders' speeches, hailed her plucky performance and her speech.

But I'm realistic and she's not going to say that.

"It is no surprise that we have had a range of different views expressed this week", she said.

The Conservatives' annual gathering saw civil war erupt within the party, while the Prime Minister tried to put on a courageous face and keep a semblance of unity. And that means two things.

"The EU is adamant that you can't have the free movement of goods without accepting EU workers - that would break the rules of the club", NPR's Frank Langfitt explains.

Funding for public services will rise in next year's Spending Review, the prime minister has said, declaring that the era austerity was coming to an end.

Mrs May and her team face weeks of hard conversations with Brussels to win a deal, but she also faces challenges from inside her own party and from her partners in parliament, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. She argued that her plan would preserve the frictionless trade that many businesses depend on, while ensuring "no change whatsoever" to Northern Ireland's border with Ireland.

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