Theresa May’s keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester was interrupted after a man emerged from the audience and handed her a sheet of paper marked P45.
The stunt was carried out by comedian Lee Nelson who told her Boris Johnson had asked him to hand it to her.
Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, was led away by security officials, and the Prime Minister recovered to say: “I was about to talk about somebody who I would like to give a P45 to, and that’s Jeremy Corbyn.”
The incident happened just moments after Mrs May apologised to her party for her performance in the botched campaign for this year’s snap election.
Nelson is a serial prankster who has grabbed attention and headlines in the past with high-profile stunts, including renaming Sir Philip Green’s £100 million super yacht ‘BHS Destroyer’ last year and showering Fifa president Sepp Blatter with fake US dollars in Zurich in 2015.
Nelson was later seen being led from the conference hall in Manchester in handcuffs.
Around the same time, a tweet from his official Twitter account appeared, saying: “Hi @BorisJohnson, I gave Theresa her P45 just like you asked.”
The ‘P45’ he handed to the Prime Minister gave the ‘Reason for termination’ as: “Neither strong or stable. We’re a bit worried about Jezza.”
The comedian, whose stage name is Lee Nelson, made a name for himself with a stunt at a press conference where he showered scandal-hit Fifa president Sepp Blatter with money.
He was arrested by Swiss authorities for trespassing at the event in July 2015 but later released.
He has also targeted Philip Green, the former owner of collapsed retailer BHS, by hanging a sign reading “BHS Destroyer” on the billionaire’s superyacht, and disrupted then US presidential candidate Donald Trump at a Turnberry ribbon-cutting ceremony by attempting to hand out golf balls with a swastika printed on them.
Nelson also stormed the Glastonbury stage during Kanye West’s set in June 2015 wearing a T-shirt with “Lee-Zus” on it before being removed by security.
A year earlier, he tried to board the England football team’s jet as they set off for the Brazil World Cup.
He was given a conditional caution after he duped security at Manchester City’s game at Everton in March 2013 and limbered up alongside star players.