Theresa May Is Now Defending Her Legacy In No.10 – But Critics Just Aren't Having It

The former PM has spoken out about her unpopular Brexit deal and the Windrush scandal.
Former prime minister Theresa May during a recording with Andrew Marr for LBC.
Former prime minister Theresa May during a recording with Andrew Marr for LBC.
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

Theresa May has been defending her Downing Street record as she publicises her upcoming book – but it hasn't taken long for people to start to call her out online.

After months of parliamentary deadlock over her Brexit deal, the former prime minister – famously a remainer – was forced from office in 2019 and replaced by Boris Johnson.

She has been on the parliamentary backbenches ever since, only occasionally making headlines when she uses her platform in the Commons to criticise her own party if she thinks they take too much of a hardline approach.

But now she’s taken part in an interview with the BBC’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, and spoken to LBC’s Tonight With Andrew Marr, to promote her book, Abuse of Power.

She told the BBC that the UK would be better off if the Conservatives had just accepted her Brexit deal back four years ago, rather than repeatedly blocking it.

“It wouldn’t have given either side 100% of what they wanted, but it would have given the country a better overall deal,” she said.

Johnson notably struck a new (albeit very similar) EU deal, then held a snap general election and won on a landslide, thus breaking the parliamentary deadlock. He was also forced to resign three years later.

May told LBC that Johnson’s agreement was a “bad deal”, because it included the Northern Ireland Protocol.

This element of the agreement has since been re-written in Rishi Sunak’s Windsor Framework – but May’s online critics still didn’t let her get away with suggesting she had proposed the superior deal.

People on X (formerly Twitter) suggested that the disaster around her final few months in office was of her own making.

Elsewhere, May also explained that her book discusses abuses of power where people were “defending their institution” rather than “protecting those they were there to serve”.

This prompted people to point out that she was the prime minister when the Windrush scandal came to light.

Five years earlier, she had created the “hostile immigration policy” as home secretary, a move which saw thousands of British citizens – who had the right to remain in the UK – targeted in an attempt to reduce illegal immigration.

So, her attempts to discuss abuses of power went down like a lead balloon with some online critics.

May also said she would not have used the same language as current home secretary, Suella Braverman, who described the migrant crisis as an “invasion” last year.

She told LBC that it was “not the language that I would use”.

Again, people just pointed to her own hostile environment policy.

But, May did admit this week that this strategy was a mistake.

She told LBC: “It’s only fair to people who come here legally, that people who are here illegally are not able to, if you like, carry on living a life as if they’ve come here legally.

“And so it was aimed at a particular group of people. What of course happened was it came by some to be interpreted as more generally applying to to people who had come in to live in the country. And that was a mistake, because that was never what was intended.”


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