- Leon Neal / Getty
Theresa May makes heartfelt appeal to Tory MPs to remain Prime Minister and “get us out of” this mess. May acknowledges mistakes in her campaign that cost the Conservatives their majority. May says there will be no second general election. She promises a new approach and insists she will be more open to backbenchers. Tory MP says of her speech: “There was none of the Maybot”.
LONDON – Theresa May made an emotional appeal to Tory MPs to allow her to carry on as prime minister despite costing her party their majority in parliament.
Speaking at a meeting of the Conservative Party’s 1922 committee, the Prime Minister said she would carry on in the job, saying: “I got us into this mess so I’m going to get us out of it.”
In a personal appeal, May told her MPs that she had been “stuffing envelopes for the party since I was 12 years old” and would continue to serve them “as long as you want me to.”
She said she had spoken to all those former Tory MPs who had lost their seats in the election and offered them help.
Conservative MPs who left the meeting, described her performance as “heartfelt,” “powerful” and “contrite”
“Once she made her mea culpa [about the campaign] the room literally warmed up,” one backbencher said.
“It was heartfelt. She started off as as her normal formal self and then she became much more personal.
“She spoke very well. There was none of the Maybot,” another MP added.
May was not asked about standing down as leader or triggering another leadership contest.
“The mood is very much that there will not be a leadership contest” one MP said.
She also indicated that there will not be a second general election this year.
“We all agreed that another general election would be a very bad idea and the prime minister agreed,” one senior critic of the PM said.
May acknowledges campaign mistakes
- Leon Neal / Getty
May acknowledged some of the mistakes she had made during the campaign, in particular the decision to announce the social care reform plans that were quickly dubbed the “dementia tax.”
“She acknowledged that it was a mistake to drop that into the middle of an election campaign,” one MP said, adding that they would be “amazed” if the policy was not dropped from the upcoming Queen’s Speech.
May also acknowledged that her campaign had not done enough to appeal to people who work in the public sector.
“She said we haven’t done enough to reassure public sector workers,” one MP said
“We didn’t have a positive message. She accepted the tone of the campaign wasn’t right.”
May also promised her MPs that there would be a “more open door policy” towards backbenchers.
Her new chief of staff, former Tory MP Gavin Barwell received large cheers from MPs, who had been unhappy with the former team around the prime minister.