Peers have voted by a majority of 103 for an amendment intended to stop the next prime minister being able to prorogue parliament in the autumn to facilitate a no-deal Brexit. leaders who refuse to compromise are taking politics into the 'gutter' as she gives last big speech as PM delivered valedictory speech this afternoon as she prepares to leave No10. Mrs May used the address to deliver a stark warning about the state of politics. She said politicians worldwide were 'loud' rather than seeking compromise.
She said politics was focused on the 'gutter' rather than the 'middle of the road' Mrs May is due to leave office next week with Boris Johnson her likely successor...
Theresa May launched extraordinary swipes at Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin today as she warned 'loud' leaders that 'ill words' ultimately led to 'ill deeds'. In a valedictory speech, the PM - who steps down next week - said she had 'lived' politics for 50 years, and knew about its potential to 'improve people's lives'. But she voiced dismay at the toxic state of debate, saying Western civilisation was at a 'pivot point' and people had to operate in the 'real world' rather than making 'promises they cannot keep'.
In barely-veiled jibes at her likely successor Mr Johnson and Brexit hardliners - as well as the US and Russian presidents - she told the audience at Chatham House: 'Getting things done rather than simply getting them said, requires some qualities that have become unfashionable of late.'One of them is a willingness to compromise. That does not mean compromising your values… it means being driven by and when necessary standing up for your values and convictions, but doing so in the real world in the arena of public life where others are making their own case and pursuing their own interests.'
She added: 'Words have consequences - and ill words that go unchallenged are the first step on a continuum towards ill deeds.' Underlining her anger that she had failed to get a Brexit compromise through Parliament, Mrs May added: 'The alternative is a politics of winners and losers of absolute and perpetual strife and that threatens us all.'In barely-veiled jibes at her likely successor Mr Johnson (right) and Brexit hardliners - as well as the US and Russian presidents (left and centre) - she told the audience at Chatham House: 'Getting things done rather than simply getting them said, requires some qualities that have become unfashionable of late'
The outgoing PM has so far remained a largely impartial observer of the Tory leadership race to replace her. Mr Johnson has faced accusations of spraying around pledges that he may struggle to deliver when in office during the leadership contest. His rival in the battle for Number 10, Jeremy Hunt, has directly accused him of advocating 'populist' policies. But with the race between Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt now drawing to a close, Mrs May delivered her most combative assessment of the political landscape. Theresa May delivered a stark warning about the rise of populism. Theresa May delivered a stark warning about the rise of populism. Boris Johnson has repeatedly been accused of making 'populist' promises during the Tory leadership contest Mrs May's plaintive assessment of global polarisation came on another packed day in politics which saw:
Speculation mounting that Boris Johnson intends to hold a general election quickly after Brexit to smash Jeremy Corbyn if he can get it through Parliament by the end of October; But senior allies of the Tory front runner cautioned him against suspending Parliament to force No Deal by Halloween, with Andrea Leadsom saying she would not support such a move, More tensions emerged within Mr Johnson's camp after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he wanted to ban under-16s from buying sugar-laden energy drinks. Earlier this month Mr Johnson urged an end to the expansion of the 'nanny state' The Tory civil war bubbled up as Tory MP David Morris, a former hairdresser, claimed Mr Johnson was dyeing his famous blond hair.
Mrs May said: 'Today, an inability to combine principles with pragmatism and make a compromise when required seems to have driven our whole political discourse down the wrong path. 'It has led to what is, in effect, a form of absolutism. One which believes that if you simply assert your view loud enough and long enough you will get your way in the end. 'Or that mobilising your own faction is more important than bringing others with you. This is coarsening our public debate.' Theresa May's final speech: The key quotes
The Prime Minister this afternoon gave what is likely to be her valedictory speech before she leaves office next week. ‘It is on that score that today we do have grounds for serious concern. Both domestically and internationally both in substance and in tone I am worried about the state of politics.’ On action being more important than words. ‘Getting things done rather than simply getting them said requires some qualities that have become unfashionable of late.' On the importance of compromise,‘The alternative is a politics of winners and losers of absolute and perpetual strife and that threatens us all.’ On populism undermining western principles
‘The current failure to combine principles with pragmatism and compromise inevitably risks undermining them.’ On the appeal of populism, ‘Populist movements have seized the opportunity to capitalise on that vacuum. They have embraced the politics of division, identifying the enemies to blame for our problems and offering apparently easy answers. In doing so they promote a polarised politics which views the world through a prism of us and them, a prism of winners and losers which views compromise and cooperation through international institutions as signs of weakness not strength.’ ‘Being prepared to compromise also means knowing when not to compromise and when our values are under threat we must always be willing to stand firm.'
'It is a matter of deep regret to me that I haven't managed to get Brexit over the line. I think the overwhelming view of the public in the UK is they just want it to be done.'On betting her job to deliver Brexit 'I put my own job on the line. I was told that if I said I would stand down then the votes would come behind the deal. I said I would stand down and I am doing so. The votes didn't come. That's politics.' Mrs May said the 'middle of the road' was wrongly seen as a bad concept in modern politics. Quoting ex-US president Dwight D Eisenhower, she said: ‘Eisenhower once wrote people talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable. 'Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extreme right and left are in the gutters.
‘I believe that seeking the common ground and being prepared to make compromises in order to make progress does not entail a rejection of our values and convictions by one iota rather it is precisely the way to defend them.'
Last week she launched what was interpreted as a coded attack on Mr Johnson as she said: 'Too many people in politics think being Prime Minister is a position of power. 'Actually, it is a position of service to the country where you are always asking yourself 'What more can I do for the public?'. 'All too often those who see it as a position of power see it as about themselves and not about the people they are serving. There is a real difference.' Mrs May said voters felt left behind by a political class who had failed to address their concerns. She said: ‘Populist movements have seized the opportunity to capitalise on that vacuum. They have embraced the politics of division, identifying the enemies to blame for our problems and offering apparently easy answers.
‘In doing so they promote a polarised politics which views the world through a prism of us and them, a prism of winners and losers which views compromise and cooperation through international institutions as signs of weakness not strength.’ Mrs May said the UK had to defend the values which are ‘fundamental to our way of life’. She said: ‘We need to rebuild support for them by addressing people’s legitimate concerns through actual solutions that can command public consent rather than populist promises that in the end are not solutions at all.’
Mrs May has not backed either of the candidates vying to replace her as prime minister. She said last Wednesday that she believed both men would make an 'excellent' leader. She told MPs: 'The next leader of the Conservative Party will be an excellent Prime Minister, whichever candidate wins, and they will ensure that they take this country through Brexit, deliver on the 2016 referendum, ignore the attempts by [Remain MPs] to try to go back on the democratic vote of the British people, and lead us forward to a brighter future.' Mrs May has remained largely an impartial observer during the Tory leadership campaign
Mrs May (pictured giving her speech today) has remained largely an impartial observer during the Tory leadership campaignThe outgoing PM said politics was heading into the 'gutter' rather than staying in the 'middle of the road' The outgoing PM said politics was heading into the 'gutter' rather than staying in the 'middle of the road' She also today turned her fire on Jeremy Corbyn over the Labour Party's anti-Semitism crisis, saying the 'once proud' party had turned to extremism. Theresa May adopts Eisenhower's 'middle of the road' mantra as she leaves office
The outgoing Prime Minister drew inspiration from an unlikely source today as she set out her blueprint to save politics from populism. Mrs May quoted Dwight D. Eisenhower, the army general and 34th US president who said he wanted to avoid the gutter during his political career in the White House between 1953 and 1961. Mrs May said this afternoon: 'We are here today at St James’ Square – the location from which Dwight Eisenhower led the planning for D-Day. And it was standing on the beaches of Normandy with other world leaders last month - remembering together all that was given in defence of our liberty and our values - that most inspired me to come here today to give this speech.
'Eisenhower once wrote: “People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable...Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.” 'I believe that seeking the common ground and being prepared to make compromises in order to make progress does not entail a rejection of our values and convictions by one iota, rather it is precisely the way to defend them.
Not by making promises you cannot keep, or by just telling people what you think they want to hear. But by addressing the concerns people genuinely hold and showing that co-operation not absolutism is the only way to deliver for everyone.' In one lighter moment in the Q&A which followed what was a largely grim speech, Mrs May was asked about her admission during the 2017 election campaign that running through a field of wheat was the naughtiest thing she had ever done.
Pushed on whether that was still her naughtiest action, she said: ‘I think one of the silliest things I ever did was answering that question but there we are.’ Mrs May's speech came as attention increasingly started to turn to what Mr Johnson will do if and when he becomes PM. The former foreign secretary is reportedly plotting to hold an early general election once Brexit gets over the line so that he can face off against Labour 'while Jeremy Corbyn is still around'. The Tory frontrunner is said to have told aides to prepare for an election as early as next summer.
The next election is not due until 2022, but the government's instability over recent months has prompted frequent speculation of an early poll. Speaking to The Times, Boris aides said the Tories wanted to exploit the 'groundwork' they had already done for a campaign against Mr Corbyn. Meanwhile, Amber Rudd warned the next prime minister they will have to compromise on Brexit to get a better deal from Brussels as she said the negotiating red lines of Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt 'will collide with reality'.
The Work and Pensions Secretary suggested whoever wins the Tory leadership race will have to rethink their demand to delete the Irish backstop from the divorce agreement. Both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt have insisted the border protocol is 'dead'. May says her infamous 'field of wheat' comment was 'silly' In one lighter moment in an otherwise grim speech, Mrs May was asked about her admission during the 2017 election campaign that running through a field of wheat was the naughtiest thing she had ever done.
Pushed on whether that was still her naughtiest action, she said: ‘I think one of the silliest things I ever did was answering that question, but there we are.’ But new EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, who was narrowly elected as the next president of the European Commission yesterday, said the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be renegotiated as she stuck to the bloc's long-held position. With Brussels adamant the divorce deal cannot be changed and both PM candidates refusing to countenance striking an accord with the backstop still in it, the prospect of a No Deal Brexit appears increasingly likely. Mr Johnson was also under pressure today to rule out suspending parliament in the run up to the October 31 Brexit deadline to stop MPs thwarting No Deal. Tory leadership contest: What happens next? Friday July 19: Effective deadline for Tory members to put their ballot in the post.
Monday July 22: Voting closes at 5pm.
Tuesday July 23: The winner of the contest is announced.
Wednesday July 24: Theresa May will hold her final PMQs before visiting the Queen to resign. The winner will also see the Queen and then become PM.
Thursday July 25: Parliament is due to break for its summer recess.
It was claimed yesterday that Mr Johnson was considering a plan to prorogue parliament in the two weeks before Halloween to prevent a last-minute bid to prevent a chaotic split from the bloc. But former Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom said today she would not willingly participate in such a proposal. Asked if she would go along with it if Mr Johnson took that course of action, she told BBC Radio 4's Today: 'No, I don't believe I would and I don't believe it will happen.'Mr Johnson has promised to deliver Brexit by October 31 'do or die' and with or without a deal. But there are major questions over whether he actually will be able to follow through on the pledge if MPs move to block him.