THERESA MAY poked fun herself for failing to secure a Parliamentary majority during a Commons speech today, as she congratulated the Speaker on his re-election by saying that “at least someone got a landslide”.
The PM welcomed the appointment of John Bercow as Speaker of the House on Monday as she praised the politician for his service, while also finding the time to joke about her own election setback.
Mrs May said: “Mr Speaker-elect, on behalf of the whole House, may I congratulate you on your re-election – at least someone got a landslide.
“And may I also congratulate you on becoming the first speaker since the Second World War to be re-elected three times.
“In your tenure so far you have been a great champion of backbenchers, ensuring that every member of this House has the opportunity to speak and to be heard in representing the people they serve.
“This is such an important part of the way our democracy is upheld in this House and I know you will continue in this vital role in the future, just as you have in the past.”
Mrs May also praised the “long and distinguished” career of Mr Clarke and broke with tradition by welcoming Labour’s Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) as the “Mother of the House”, for the longest unbroken service for a female MP.
Earlier this week Theresa May tried to settle Tory nerves about her leadership as she made a heart-felt apology to MPs for last week’s general election meltdown.
She promised them: “I’m the person who got us into this mess and I’m the one who will get us out of it.”
And in a joke about her widely mocked “strong and stable” election slogan, the PM told MPs: “I am strong, stable and contrite.”
Mrs May was cheered and applauded for nearly 30 seconds as she arrived at the packed first meeting of the powerful 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers since the poll disappointment.
The PM said she had been “stuffing envelopes” for Tory campaigns since she was 12 years old and had dedicated herself to the party.
“I will serve you as long as you want me to,” she said in an emotional plea to staying in her job.
Some were concerned that Labour had proved more adept at targeting particular groups of voters and getting their message across.
One backbencher leaving the meeting said: “There was not dissent that I heard.
“We are united in understanding that the last thing the country wants is another general election or a Tory leadership election.”
The MP added: “She apologised for so many colleagues losing their seats.”
Another said: “It was an excellent meeting. She was humble and apologetic.”