Prankster hands Theresa May a P45 as Tory conference speech descends into chaos

Simon Brodkin hands Theresa May a P45 -  Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Simon Brodkin hands Theresa May a P45 - Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Have your say

Theresa May's keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester has been interrupted by comedian Lee Nelson, who handed her a sheet of paper marked P45.

Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, was led away by security officials, and the Prime Minister recovered to say: "I was about to talk about somebody who I would like to give a P45 to, and that's Jeremy Corbyn."

Brodkin joked that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had asked him to perform the stunt.

Amid frantic scenes he was bundled out of the conference hall and through the exhibition stands by security staff at the Manchester Central venue.

He told reporters: "Boris told me to do it. He's left me in the lurch."

The incident happened just moments after Mrs May apologised to her party for her performance in the botched campaign for this year's snap election.

She admitted the campaign was "too scripted, too presidential" and said she took responsibility for its shortcomings.

After calling an election three years early in the hope of increasing her dominance in the House of Commons, Mrs May lost 13 MPs and forfeited her majority, forcing her into a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.

She won long applause from party delegates as she said: "We did not get the victory we wanted because our national campaign fell short.

"It was too scripted. Too presidential.

"And it allowed the Labour Party to paint us as the voice of continuity when the public wanted to hear a message of change.

"I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign. And I am sorry."

Nelson has a track record of pulling off similar stunts. He once threw a pile of dollars at the then Fifa president Sepp Blatter during a press conference.

Mrs May's speech was also interrupted by fits of coughing, which she laughed off.