With ministers resigning left and right, would she tigger a vote of no confidence in herself and face down her Tory critics in a leadership contest?
But her opening gambit about “serving in high office” had the ring of something more extreme. Was she about to quit?
Serving in high office…uh oh
— Niall Paterson (@skynewsniall) November 15, 2018
May said she believed MPs in her party would back her deal – despite all the evidence to the contrary. “I’m committed, as Prime Minister, to bringing the best deal back to the UK,” she said, saving political journalists from a heart attack.
“I think MPs across my party who look at that deal will recognise the importance of delivering on the vote of the British people and recognise the importance of doing that in a way that does protect people’s jobs, protect security and protect the unity of our United Kingdom.”
In fact, pundits in Britain had an insight on what was happening.
NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) November 15, 2018
Nothing has changed
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) November 15, 2018
Yep, nothing has changed.
For those who don’t analyse every cough and spit of politics, it’s a reference to May’s 2017 general election campaign mantra when questioned about a U-turn on plans to get the elderly to pay for social care.
So May was trying to project defiance and, as a news conference without much news wound down, the PM showed a flicker of confidence … and compared her premiership with an innings by England cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott.
Asked if she would “resign as captain”, May said: “One of my cricket heroes was always Geoffrey Boycott.
“And what do you know about Geoffrey Boycott? Geoffrey Boycott stuck to it and he got the runs in the end.”
I’m hallucinating. I just imagined that our Prime Minister, having lost a chunk of her cabinet and the support of her party, called a press conference, announced that she was Geoffrey Boycott and sashayed off screen.
— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) November 15, 2018
Theresa May compares herself to Geoff Boycott. “He got the runs in the end,” she said. Tours of India tend to do that to you.
— Patrick Kidd (@patrick_kidd) November 15, 2018
Not sure “stuck in and got the runs” was the line she imagined ending on …
— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) November 15, 2018
Curiously, cricket-loving May was given personalised Tupperware by Boycott in 2017.
The gift was to make amends after May accused the former cricketer of keeping the container she used to take chocolate brownies to the Test Match Special commentary box.
In any case, it brings new meaning to a politician answering a question with a straight bat.