What Theresa May said outside No 10 – and what she really meant

Our chief political commentator translates the Prime Minister’s words when she returned from Buckingham Palace after, the election produced a hung parliament

Click to follow
The Independent Online

What Theresa May said: I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen, and I will now form a government. 

What she meant: I have made a terrible mistake and I am not going to admit it.

What she said: A government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.

What she meant: A government that will clear up after itself. The situation is critical because I called an election when I shouldn’t have, but I will now go into the reactor core and sort it out. 

What she said: This Government will guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days and deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

What she meant: The Government, not necessarily led by me. I tried to make the election all about me and you didn’t like it, so I am trying another tack. I am just one of the team. But seriously – you think Boris could do better? 

Theresa May to remain Prime Minster after forming government with DUP

What she said: It will work to keep our nation safe and secure by delivering the change that I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London – cracking down on the ideology of Islamist extremism and all those who support it. And giving the police and the authorities the powers they need to keep our country safe.   

What she meant: National security. Me. Safe. Not her, Amber, she just does what I say. Or him, David Davis, SAS man. He is in Brussels, making sure there are sharpened pencils for the meeting. National Security. Me. Safe.  

What she said: The Government I lead will put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do, so that we fulfil the promise of Brexit together and – over the next five years – build a country in which no one and no community is left behind.

What she meant: You thought I was going to announce I would be standing down as soon as a successor is elected. Absolutely right: in five years’ time. 

What she said: A country in which prosperity and opportunity are shared right across this United Kingdom.

What she meant: The only reason socialism hasn’t worked is that it has never really been tried.

What she said: What the country needs more than ever is certainty, and having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons. 

What she meant: It is a total disaster, but if you think I’m going to start apologising, think again. I got the most votes and seats. It is not a win, but I’m at this lectern and you try to take it away from me. 

What she said: As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular. Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years, and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.

What she meant: I’ve done a deal with Arlene, although she will tell her Free Presbyterians that she is negotiating hard with me and thinks it may be possible to get what they want (pork barrel, mostly). 

What she said: This will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country – securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long term prosperity

What she meant: I have divided the country as never before, and will channel my energies into horse-trading to try to stay in power. 

Minnie Driver's 'joy' as Theresa May's future hangs in balance

What she said: That’s what people voted for last June.

What she meant: They voted for me. Well, they voted to get rid of David Cameron. Same thing. 

What she said: That’s what we will deliver.

What she meant: Me. More of me. Until at least Monday. 

What she said: Now let’s get to work.

What she meant: No questions.