Theresa May speech reaction as Prime Minister pledges to end austerity

A defiant Theresa May has told the Conservative party conference that she can end austerity with a good deal from the European Union after Brexit as she sought to draw a line under questions about her leadership.

Theresa May. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The Prime Minister said that she would end the austerity that was caused by the financial crisis of ten years ago, promising changes to housing and health care to improve the country.

Journalists, analysts, politicians and others have reacted to the speech, and Mrs May’s awkward dancing as she was announced at the conference in Birmingham.

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Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: “While the country is crying out for real change, all Theresa May and her party offer are pinched ideas and tinkering around at the edges, relying on petty attacks to cover up their lack of vision.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster Leader, said: “The Prime Minister danced around the key issues – the disastrous impact of Tory austerity and a Tory hard Brexit.

“There is a massive gulf between her rhetoric and the reality of what is now facing the UK.

“If Theresa May genuinely believes that the UK’s best days lie ahead then she is being wilfully blind to that reality

Poking fun at the Prime Minister’s dance moves, the Greens’ Patrick Harvie added: “Theresa May sees herself as a Dancing Queen, but that speech was more of an SOS.”

Ruth Davidson, who was praised from the stage by Mrs May, tweeted: “Very strong speech from @theresa_may - backing business, supporting services and boosting house building. Firm on the union and standing by Scotland’s fishing industry. Internationalist in outlook and rooted in the centre ground at home.”

Financial Times journalist Sebastian Payne posted: “Whisper it but could this Theresa May best ever speech? Very well written, strong narrative, solid intellectual core. Don’t think many thought she had this in her.”

However George Eaton of the New Statesman noted: “This is a far better speech than last year’s (a low bar) but the problem for May has always been the gap between rhetoric and reality.”