Wednesday 16 October 2019

May’s voice problem during Commons speeches ‘a metaphor’ as PM loses vote

Some commentators bemoaned the Prime Minister’s ‘terrible luck’ while others described it as ‘humiliating’.

By Edd Dracott, Press Association

Theresa May lost not only the second “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal on Tuesday evening, but also her voice.

The Prime Minister battled through discomfort to deliver increasingly croaky speeches before and after the vote, which she lost by 391 to 242, a margin of 149.

Labour MPs heckled her about not being able to make her speech before the vote, but the PM hoarsely quipped: “OK, you may say that, but you should hear Jean-Claude Juncker’s voice as a result of our conversation.”

Yet her voice was no better after the defeat was announced, as Mrs May appeared to suffer the same ailment which overshadowed her speech to the Conservative Party conference in 2017 as she stepped up to the despatch box.

Labour MP Rupa Huq compared Mrs May’s impaired speech to that of Doctor Who villain Davros, whose voice is electronically distorted.

“PM sounding like Davros, still threatening no deal,” she tweeted. “Catastrophic lack of leadership and massive humiliation.”

Piers Morgan responded to the difficult night for Mrs May by calling for her to resign.

“She’s lost her vote, her authority, even her voice,” the TV presenter tweeted.

“Surely the only option left to her now is to resign?”

And Labour’s Jo Swinson wrote: “PM’s voice is croaking – clearly a similar sore throat issue to that infamous conference speech.

“But it inevitably conjures up images of that set falling apart, in a metaphor for where the PM, govt and country are all at right now.”

LBC presenter Ian Dale said he felt sorry for the Prime Minister.

“Theresa May’s voice has gone again,” he tweeted.

“You’ve got to feel sorry for her. Terrible luck.”

However, journalist Stephen Pollard decried claims that Mrs May’s predicament made her “some kind of heroic martyr”.

“Her presence in Downing St has been an unmitigated disaster both for the country and her party,” he tweeted.

“Her croaky voice does not change any of that.”

Radio host Iain Lee appeared to find common ground with the Prime Minister, however.

“Theresa May doing her sick voice so she doesn’t have to turn up got work tomorrow,” he tweeted.

“Genius. We’ve all done it.”

Before the vote, her vocal struggles were mentioned by the SNP MP Stephen Gethins, who, while making an intervention, joked he would give Mrs May a “moment to get another cough sweet from the Chancellor”.

That was in reference to the speech in Manchester 18 months ago where, having been handed a fake P45 by prankster Simon Brodkin, she was unable to get through her remarks – eventually being handed a lozenge by Philip Hammond.

Letters also fell off the slogan on the backdrop as she made that conference speech.

Later in Tuesday’s debate, former Conservative minister and now Independent Group MP Anna Soubry paid tribute to the PM’s fortitude in continuing to persevere.

She said most people would take to their beds if unwell, but noted Mrs May “simply battles on”.

PA Media

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