It’s exactly one year to the day since Theresa May became Prime Minister. To mark the occasion, she has given a lengthy interview to Radio 5Live’s Emma Barnett. Unfortunately for May, it wasn’t the interview she would have envisaged giving a year ago when she entered No 10. Rather than talk of the achievements so far of her time in office, she had to defend her decision to call the disastrous snap election and discuss what mistakes she had made.
May insisted that she was right to call the snap election and for the first time gave a real insight into her reaction on that night. She said she got her husband Philip to watch the exit poll as she is superstitious about it. When he came in and told her, she was surprised. He gave her a hug, she shed a tear and then after a minute she called CCHQ to find out what was going on:
TM: I felt devastated, really. I knew the campaign was not going perfectly.
EB: Did you shed a tear?
TM: Yes, a little tear.
While May did show her human side more in this interview, she didn’t give much ground when it came to owning up to mistakes she may have made. She stopped short of saying she regretted the graceless statement she gave from No 10 after the result – claiming it was best to show humility through action. Given the number of people who felt let down by the statement, this would have been a good opportunity for May to admit that it was a misjudgment on her part.
Moving forward, May said the government would take the message from the young at the election that more needs to be done on housing. She also dealt with questioning on the government’s £1bn DUP deal as well as could be expected. Explaining that rather than it coming from tax rises or borrowing, growth in the economy means the government can find money elsewhere sometimes – without a magic money tree.
However, the limits of May’s position remain. This was highlighted when she ducked out of answering a question from Barnett on whether she would still be Prime Minister by the end of the Brexit negotiations. May refused to commit – saying she would be there as long as her party – and country – need her. While her expiry date remains, this interview will have given her colleagues faith that she can hang in there a bit longer.