Dancing Queen Theresa May seeks to banish the Maybot and proposes a Brexit bargain

Prime Minister Theresa May began her Conservative Party conference speech by dancing on stage to ABBA's Dancing Queen.
Prime Minister Theresa May began her Conservative Party conference speech by dancing on stage to ABBA's Dancing Queen.
0
Have your say

Dancing queen Theresa May was simply meant to get through this conference without a stumble, fall or coughing fit.

But for a Prime Minister who often looks like she has two left feet and risked being knocked over entirely by Boris Johnson and Tory splits over Brexit, she commanded the floor here better than ever before.

She took ownership of her awkward reputation with a bop to the lectern to the strains of ABBA, and despite her stilted moves belied her Maybot reputation with highly personal passages about her goddaughter who was diagnosed with cancer, and her father’s cousin who died at Passchendale.

For the first time since the disastrous snap election, in which she personally withered, she stepped out into the spotlight on her own.

Her message was clear: would the country rather dance with Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, or her?

And while her former Foreign Secretary spent the last few days taunting her with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, without being able to land a killer blow, the PM elegantly pirouetted away in a speech full of coded putdowns of her bete noire including an insistence that Britons are not “ideologues”.

Later she spun her themes of moderation and patriotism into an all-out attack on Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn, accusing them of betraying the national interest by threatening to vote down any Brexit deal she brings home from Brussels.

Ultimately though, this was an address which sought to tackle the Prime Minister’s vulnerabilities, highlighted by its central quid pro quo designed to win over disgruntled Tories and Labour supporters alike: back my Brexit and I will end austerity.

Time will tell if it will be enough for them to dig their dancing queen.