Theresa May can't bring herself to thank Boris Johnson during election victory speech

·3-min read

Theresa May thanked her constituents, polling staff, her husband and even the police after retaining her Maidenhead seat - but not Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister’s name was markedly absent from Mrs May’s victory speech after she beat Liberal Democrat candidate Joshua Reynolds by 18,846 votes as part of the Tories’ stinging defeat over Labour in the general election.

She even appeared to refuse to adopt her successor’s catchphrase of ‘get Brexit done’ - used by Mr Johnson over 350 times on social media since start of election campaign - saying that the election result had shown that the country wanted to “get Brexit sorted”.

Mrs May received 32,620 votes in Maidenhead as the Lib Dems beat Labour to second place, though her majority was 7,611 less than that of the 2017 election.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he is greeted by staff, arriving back at Downing Street, after meeting Queen Elizabeth and accepting her invitation to form a new government, in London, Britain December 13, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Mrs May managed not to mention her successor Boris Johnson's name at all during her victory speech (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS)

She said: “Thank you very much. Can I first of all thank the returning officer and all the team who have been working on the polls today, particularly all those polling clerks who found themselves spending an entire day sitting in not that very well heated halls around the constituency.

“I also would like to thank the police who worked to ensure that we could conduct this ballot in safety.


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“I would like to thank my team, particularly among my team I would like to thank my longest supporter through my political career, my husband Philip, for the support he has given to me.

“But also I would like to thank the people of the Maidenhead constituents who once again have put their faith and trust in me as their member of Parliament.”

Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as Prime Minister (Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire)
Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as Prime Minister (Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire)

Mrs May stopped short of thanking Boris Johnson for any role he may have played in Conservative election success across the country and instead went on to describe how much of a privilege she felt being an MP was, pledging to represent the whole constituency, not just those who had voted for her.

She added: “Tonight is very important because this is an important election and we are actually seeing our country set on a clear path forward.”

In what some might see as a deliberate swerve of a phrase that has become synonymous with Boris Johnson’s election campaign, she said: “We have seen through this election that most people in this country just want us to get Brexit sorted and move this country on, and that’s exactly what we will do.

Again keeping Mr Johnson’s name out of it, she went on: “There is a bright future out there, there is a bright future out there for the people of Maidenhead constituency. There is a bright future out there for the whole of this country and it will be a future led by a Conservative government.”

Theresa May
Theresa May

In an interview with BBC News, Mrs May said she was pleased with the Tory majority in the historic election.

She said: “Well I’m very pleased at the majority that Boris has achieved because this has done the essential thing, which I think for many people led how they voted at this election, which is enabling us to have a Parliament that is going to have, with a majority government, the ability to take decisions and crucially the ability to get the Brexit legislation through.

“So we can get Brexit sorted, get Brexit done and move the country on, and then focus on those many other priorities that people want the government to focus on, on a day-to-day basis.”

Asked whether Mr Johnson can secure a comprehensive trade deal in 11 months, Mrs May again seemed to shy away from giving her successor the credit for movement when it comes to Brexit, saying: “Yes, because actually an awful lot of work on that has already been done.”

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