Theresa May doesn’t want Trump hand-holding and Brexit failure to be her legacy as she mocks Truss and Johnson

Theresa May has joked that she risks going down in history as the prime minister who held hands with Donald Trump.

The former PM, who is leaving parliament at this year’s general election, said she is not sure “whether I am going to be known as the prime minister who did not get Brexit through… or the prime minister who Donald Trump held hands with”.

Ms May was asked at a gathering of journalists about the potential future relationship between Sir Keir Starmer or Rishi Sunak and Mr Trump if he is re-elected in November.

The Maidenhead MP replied that “all I can say is I hope he doesn’t hold their hand”.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May and former U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade of the West Wing at The White House on January 27, 2017 (Getty Images)
Former Prime Minister Theresa May and former U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade of the West Wing at The White House on January 27, 2017 (Getty Images)

Addressing the parliamentary press gallery, Ms May aimed barbs at her successors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

Speaking about her book, The Abuse of Power, Ms May said: “It is interesting to notice where political titles are categorised, where they are shelved in the bookshops.”

She said a political journalist’s book about her time negotiating a Brexit deal with the European Union should have been filed under “horror or fiction… I was there”.

“Liz Truss’ 10 Years to Save the West… Well, given Liz’s record, perhaps it should be 10 Days to Save the West.. sci-fi/fantasy,” she added.

And, referencing another prime minister’s personal life, Ms May said: “And of course we are all waiting for the memoirs of Boris Johnson, which will undoubtedly be shelved under ‘current affairs’.”

Theresa May is standing down as an MP at the general election (REUTERS)
Theresa May is standing down as an MP at the general election (REUTERS)

Also in her speech, Ms May insisted this year’s general election is not a foregone conclusion for Rishi Sunak.

The ex-PM said: “At the doors that I knock on, Keir Starmer is not Tony Blair, the view on those doorsteps is different to the feel pre-1997.

“And winning the number of seats they need to win is a tough call, they’ve got to put a lot of work in on the ground to be able to do that.”

Making a joke about her own 2017 snap election, in which she squandered the Tories’ majority, Ms May said: “And thirdly… we have seen one or two unexpected election results… I think I was probably 20 points ahead for most of the 2017 election and look what happened to that.”

She added: “I think it is not a foregone conclusion.”

The former PM will step down as an MP at the next general election, ending her 27-year stint in parliament.

Ms May admitted it was a “challenging decision” to step away from politics.

She told the Maidenhead Advertiser she had taken the decision to “focus on causes close to her heart including her work on the Global Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking”.

She said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve everyone in the Maidenhead constituency as the member of parliament for the last 27 years.

“Being an MP is about service to one’s constituents and I have always done my best to ensure that I respond to the needs of local people and the local area.”

Ms May was first elected as the MP for Maidenhead in 1997, eventually going on to serve as the second ever female prime minister from July 2016 to July 2019.

She earned a reputation for her tough stance on immigration and law and order issues during her time as home secretary under prime minister David Cameron between 2010 and 2016, before succeeding him in the top role.

But her term in Downing Street was cut short after a turbulent three years where she was dubbed the ‘Maybot’ for her robotic interview style, and her tenure was dominated by wrangling over Brexit negotiations.

In the snap election of 2017 she lost her parliamentary majority, yet she clung on at No 10 courtesy of a pact with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Ms May formally stepped down as prime minister on 24 July 2019 after Boris Johnson won the Conservative Party leadership contest and succeeded her as the country’s prime minister.