After conference fiasco, are May's days at No 10 numbered?
2017-10-06 09:38:00

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote speech on the last day of the Conservative Party Annual Conference in Manchester, Britain on Oct. 4, 2017. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

More members of the prime minister's governing cabinet and leading Conservatives rallied around Theresa May Thursday as the fall-out from her disastrous conference speech continued.

Britain's political world was posing the question: are May's days at 10 Downing Street numbered?

It was a full-house Wednesday as thousands of loyal Conservatives eagerly awaited May's end-of-conference closing speech. It had been billed as an upbeat message, intended to invigorate the party after it lost over control in the June snap general election.

A prankster breached strict security to approach the platform where May had just started her keynote speech, in which she said sorry for the election disaster. He handed her a fake P45, the official notice handed to people when they lose their jobs. May then struggled her way through her speech, coughing and spluttering, and letters on the messages in the backdrop behind her started to fall off.

Instead of headlines that would have spelled out May's future plans, virtually every national newspaper in Britain zoomed in on a conference that will be remembered for its string of disasters, and provide a feast of material for political satirists.

"May on final warning" was the front-page headline in the Times, while the Guardian splash headline read: "Coughing and spluttering - May's British dream turns into a nightmare".

The Daily Express front page offered support to May with the headline: "Trust Theresa's Fighting Spirit".

Former government minister Ed Vaizey said in a radio interview Thursday a number of May's own MPs "pretty firmly" want her to resign.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd was the latest cabinet member to rally around May Thursday.

The Daily Express newspaper, under the headline: "May could be gone by Christmas as MPs plot after disastrous speech" claimed up to 30 MPs were plotting her demise.

Media reports claimed a number of MPs wanted May to go

Rudd, who as Home Secretary is Britain's main interior minister, told journalists: "Theresa May has my full support."

George Freeman, who heads May's policy board, said a leadership challenge was not in the interests of the party or the country.

Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi said in an interview May had shown her "grit and determination" in the face of adversity and "of course would stay on as leader".

Zahawi told Britain's Channel 4 News: "When she gets a good deal from our Euro partners the whole narrative will change. She is focused and will deliver."

There were even comforting words for May from London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan.

Speaking on local radio in London, Khan said: "I feel sorry for Theresa May, she had an awful, awful day yesterday. Not just one thing going wrong but a snowballing of things going wrong, and I've got to be honest as a human being, as a politician I feel for her."

Away from the harsh political world, a leading academic said May would stay on as prime minister.

Professor Jon Tonge from the politics department at the University of Liverpool, told Xinhua: "Theresa May will stay on two grounds. She is committed to Brexit and there is no obvious alternative."

Source:xinhua Editor:Dylan
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