PM May shed a ‘little tear’ on losing majority
May told BBC that when her husband, Philip May, told her the exit poll result on the night of June 8, it came as a “complete shock…It took a few minutes to sink in…we didn’t see the result coming.”world Updated: Jul 13, 2017 20:20 IST
After facing ridicule and more for coming across as a robot-like politician during the June election, the human face of Prime Minister Theresa May was turned full on as she admitted she shed a ‘little tear’ on losing not only the election but also her party’s majority.
A leading commentator called her ‘Maybot’, while her oft-repeated phrases such as ‘strong and stable,’ ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘enough is enough’ were lampooned, prompting campaign managers to change course.
But May told BBC on Thursday that when her husband, Philip May, told her the exit poll result on the night of June 8, it came as a “complete shock…It took a few minutes to sink in…we didn’t see the result coming.”
“My husband gave me a hug," she said, adding that she cried a “little tear”. The prime minister said she did not watch the exit poll herself, as “I have a little bit of superstition about things like that.”
May had called the mid-term election on June 8 in the hope of winning a larger majority than the slender one the Conservatives had won in the 2015 election, but ended up losing it, and having to enter into a controversial coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party to stay in power.
In keeping with the new political reality, May has made conciliatory gestures since, hoping to win support from other parties in parliament for key measures such as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which was published on Thursday.
The bill seeks to transpose European law into British law after leaving the European Union, expected in March 2019. The bill is scheduled for discussion in parliament in the autumn, and is expected to face several amendments from Labour and other parties.
May said in the BBC interview that it was “devastating” to watch people she had worked with for years lose their seats, but added: “I didn't consider stepping down because I felt there was a responsibility to ensure that the country still had a government.”
She said she did not regret calling the election because “I think it was the right thing to do at the time,” but wished she had put across a more positive message during the campaign and, in particular, addressed the concerns of young people.
May said she had increased respect for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was often targeted by the party since his election as leader in 2010. She said she was impressed with the way he had reacted to the terror attack at Finsbury Park in his constituency.
“I saw a Jeremy Corbyn there who was a good constituency MP, working with those people,” she said.