Theresa May's 15 most disastrous moments in her first year as Prime Minister
политика
23.08.2017

Theresa May's 15 most disastrous moments in her first year as Prime Minister

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It's hard to believe Theresa May only became Prime Minister a year ago.

Since then we've triggered Brexit , had an election shocker an U-turned more than a broken satnav.


The Tory leader began with sky-high ratings and a lead of more than 20 points over Labour in the polls.
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But her party lost its majority in the general election after a disastrous election peppered by what her critics said was poor judgement.

So what are the most memorable, disastrous and awkward moments in the short history of Prime Minister May?

We've rounded up 15, from serious to light, that might end up in the history books.
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At the time we joked it was her first U-turn - and how right we turned out to be.

The day before she was crowned PM, but when the job was already in the bag, she looked more hapless than happy when she emerged from Number 10 and promptly turned the wrong way.

She was so excited after David Cameron ’s 215th and final Cabinet meeting that she confidently strode seven paces towards St James’s Park.
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Realising her mistake, she grimaced at the cameras before walking the other way in a scene which could have been in TV comedy The Thick of It.

The moment's become a metaphor for the many, many, many U-turns she's made in the last year.

Fox hunting, raids on free lunches and pensioner benefits, grammar schools - they're all among policies that've had to be dropped.
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2. Alone at the EU summit


An 11-second video from Brussels in December became an instant metaphor for the Prime Minister's 'isolationist' approach to Brexit.
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Excruciating footage from an EU summit showed Theresa May looking forlorn as other leaders greeted each other with hearty hugs and continental kisses.

Our friendless Prime Minister fiddled with non-existent cufflinks , gazing round at all these allies we chose to abandon as she had no-one to talk to.

3. Holding hands with Trump
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The Prime Minister created a third perfect metaphor when she grasped the hand of new US President Donald Trump.

The pair gripped each other as they walked in the White House in a show of friendship.
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And "hand-holding with Trump" has since become a line of attack for Mrs May's critics, as she refuses to publicly lay into the President for many of his policies. Her criticism of him for leaving the Paris climate agreement was less full-throated than other western leaders'.

She is also accused of prioritising a US trade deal and a State Visit by the President despite concerns over Trump's policies.

4. The £2billion, one-week U-turn
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Mrs May's first Budget ended in tatters as its flagship tax hike was scrapped just a week after being announced.

Threatened with a rebellion from his own MPs, the Chancellor Philip Hammond said he would no longer hike National Insurance for the self-employed from 9% to 11%.

His chaotic climbdown - taken after it was pointed out the hike breached the Tory manifesto - left a £2billion black hole over four years.
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Reports since have suggested tension between 10 and 11 Downing Street.

5. £58bn cost of Brexit revealed

Boasts about a strong Brexit were dented when last year's Autumn Statement revealed the dramatic cost to the UK economy.
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The independent Office for Budget Responsibility's figures estimated the national debt would spiral above 90% of GDP.

The OBR also said £58.7bn of borrowing over five years was "related to the referendum result and exiting the EU"... that's £226million a week.

The Tories' hope of a budget surplus - originally pledged for 2015 - was also pushed back to 2025.
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6. Sparking blue-on-blue war over social care

Theresa May faced fury even from Tory councils earlier this year as they begged for billions more to plug gaps in social care.

The most unedifying exchange was surely that between Surrey County Council and the government, accused of fixing up a "sweetheart deal" to let Surrey keep business rates and therefore have more money.
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Frantic e-mails revealed council leader David Hodge's pleas for cash just hours before he called off a referendum on hiking council tax 15%.

"I have offered several pragmatic ways to avoid an all-out 'blue on blue' war over the next five months and beyond," he threatened the Chancellor.

The government strongly denied giving Surrey special treatment.
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7. 'Nothing has changed'
When Theresa May DID announce a plan to fund social care, it didn't go well.
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That's because the ' Dementia tax ' involved making hundreds of thousands more people eligible to pay for their own care if they received it at home.

Furious Tory MPs said the policy - which forced people to pay until their assets whittled away to £100,000 - was too harsh.

Under huge pressure on the election campaign trail, she U-turned by then also offering a cap on the total amount people would pay.
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This produced one of the most bizarre moments of her premiership: A visibly rattled PM telling journalists "nothing has changed! Nothing has changed!", when it clearly had.

8. Confronted over benefit cuts

Fury over disability benefit cuts came home to Theresa May when she was confronted in a rare public walkabout during the election campaign.
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Cathy Mohan, who lives in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, squared up to the Prime Minister, berating her for the Tories' brutal cuts to help for people with learning disabilities.

Cathy, who said she had a mild learning disability, said she wanted her Disability Living Allowance back, saying she couldn't survive on the Personal Independence Payments that replaced it.

"I can't live on £100 a month", she said.
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It came after Mrs May changed the law to stop 165,000 people getting higher disability benefits as recommended by an independent tribunal.

9. When she became the 'lunch snatcher'

The Prime Minister was branded the "lunch snatcher" - after "milk snatcher" Margaret Thatcher - when she unveiled a manifesto pledge to end universal free school lunches for pupils aged five to seven.
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Instead only the poorest would get free lunches, like at other ages, and there'd be free breakfasts for all primary school pupils.

But the plan went down like a cup of cold porridge with her opponents.

It emerged the Tories had budgeted just 7p per breakfast. And that stinginess came on top of unpopular plans for grammar schools at the same time as cutting inner-city schools' budgets by up to 3%.
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The lunches raid has since been shelved.

10. Reopening the row on fox hunting

One moment the election turned sour for Theresa May is summed up by this answer she gave to the Daily Mirror.
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"As it happens personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting," she said, pledging to bring back the cruel bloodsport in the Tory manifesto.

It shifted the debate from Brexit and leadership to ripping apart furry animals with hounds, and Tories were flummoxed as to why she did it.

Former party chairman Grant Shapps branded it "the insane policy signalling the election campaign was about to go off-the-rails".
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11. This wild-eyed rant against the EU
Theresa May's aggressive policy to the EU was summed up in the speech she gave on the day of kick-starting the countdown to the election.
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Standing outside No10, she launched an extraordinary attack on EU leaders who she accused of trying to sabotage both the general election and Brexit .

The Tory leader said some in Brussels "do not want Britain to prosper".

And she claimed damning leaks and talk of a vast 'divorce bill' were "threats" that were "deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election."
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused her of "playing party games with Brexit" to "wrap the Conservative party in the Union Jack and distract attention from her government's economic failure".

12. Her trembling election night speech

Theresa May had not planned to give a conciliatory speech on election night. Instead, said sources, she repeated standard lines to take as she looked visibly shocked at her count in Maidenhead.
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One campaign insider told the Mirror it was like "musical statues" when the shocking exit poll was announced - with no one in the silent Tory HQ wanting to make first move.

When shellshocked Mrs May arrived at 4.30am she told incredulous staff "the party lives to fight another day", the source added.

Later she failed to address the campaign's failings or offer sympathy to fallen candidates in her first statement outside Downing Street.
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13. Her aides walking out

heresa May's senior aides were forced to resign after running the disastrous Tory election campaign.

Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who were the Prime Minister's joint chiefs of staff, quit amid intense Tory criticism in the wake of the snap election that cost the Conservatives their Commons majority.
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Their departure was a big moment for the Conservatives - they were accused of representing the Tory leader's behind-closed-doors approach, refusing to consult properly with colleagues.

They're now set for a £35,000 payout.

14. Giving the DUP a £1bn bung
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Theresa May sparked fury with a "grubby" deal to prop herself up - with the help of a right-wing, anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion party from Northern Ireland.

She gave the province an extra £1billion, despite telling a hard-up nurse there was "no magic money tree", in exchange for the backing of the DUP's 10 MPs.

Today she ducked questions about whether, as a feminist, she felt uncomfortable at the deal.
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15. And finally... Running through fields of wheat

And to many that approach was summed up when she was asked the naughtiest thing she'd ever done.

The vicar's daughter told ITV's Julie Etchingham: "Well, nobody is ever perfectly behaved, are they?
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"There are times when, I have to confess, when me and my friend, sort of, used to run through the fields of wheat, the farmers weren’t too pleased about that."
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