Theresa May mocks Boris Johnson in Tory conference speech

Theresa May mocks Boris Johnson in Tory conference speech

All eyes may be on Theresa May as she addresses the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Wednesday - but numerous paper's column inches are dedicated to a fellow top Tory: Boris Johnson.

Dancing onto the stage to the tune of Swedish pop group ABBA's hit "Dancing Queen", May mocked herself, jokingly saying if she lost her voice it was because she had been up half of the night super gluing the stage set. And following Boris Johnson's rallying cry to chuck May's Chequers Brexit deal, she was under the compulsion, more than ever, to unite a warring party, a warring Parliament and a warring country.

Theresa May namechecked the NHS more than Brexit in her conference speech, and did not utter the word Chequers once.

"Even if we do not all agree on every part of this proposal", May added, "we need to come together".

She said: "It's for them that we cut income tax".

'And our message to them must be this - we get it.

May also name-checked a range of Labour politicians - including Diane Abbott, Jo Cox, Neil Kinnock and Clement Attlee - as she tried to paint the Conservatives as the home for "moderate, patriotic" voters.

Vince Cable, leader of the minority Liberal Democrats said: "As somebody who takes dancing seriously, I was delighted to see Theresa May show that she is developing her new hobby".

Despite the pressure on all sides, May has supporters in the party and Brussels who believe any alternative to her plan would make matters far worse.

"It's important to support the only politician I can see who is actively campaigning to give people the Leave that they voted for", said Colette Wyatt-Lowe, 71, a councillor from the outskirts of London, while queueing to hear Johnson speak.

Forty-eight legislators would need to write such letters to trigger a vote of confidence in the leader.

She argues that her plan is the only way to avoid customs checks along the now invisible border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland — a development that would be troublesome for residents and businesses on both sides, and could undermine Northern Ireland's peace process.

But Wednesday's speech seemed to have gone down well among the party faithful.

He said: "It wasn't that I expected any impact from it, it's simply what I believed to be right".

The Prime Minister returned the favour by namechecking her opponent seven times.

"When we've secured a good Brexit deal for Britain, at the Spending Review next year we will set out our approach for the future", she said. And that means two things. "I would much prefer her to move away from Chequers and avoid a leadership challenge than keep pushing and pushing which could drive some MPs to push themselves for a leadership battle".

May appeared intent on stealing Johnson's spotlight, scheduling a flurry of morning interviews at which she unveiled a new immigration policy a day ahead of schedule.

Mrs May and her team face weeks of hard conversations with Brussels to win a deal, but she also faces challenges from inside her own party and from her partners in parliament, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

She argues that her plan is the only way to avoid customs checks along the now invisible border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland - a development that would be troublesome for residents and businesses on both sides, and could undermine Northern Ireland's peace process.

"So this is our proposal".

She was backed by the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom - a prominent Leave campaigner in the referendum - who said it met her "red lines" for Brexit.

"This is our proposal: taking back control of our borders, laws and money". Good for jobs, good for the Union.

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