8 things we learned from Theresa May's keynote speech


Theresa May has promised to create a country that "works for everyone".

Here are eight things we learned from her set-piece leader's speech at the Conservative Party conference:

1. The Prime Minister wants to be all things to all people

Theresa May

From borrowing Labour tropes like railing against corporate greed and tax dodgers, to co-opting Ukip-friendly policies to curb immigration, May has set up the Tories to try to occupy "a new centre ground" and dominate politics for years.

2. She is already facing criticism for being divisive

Amber Rudd

As May set out her vision for "a country that works for everyone", opposition parties, the business world and scientists heavily criticised the "toxic" new immigration policies of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, which Labour said showed the Tories are still the "Nasty Party".

3. Ed Miliband couldn't resist a dig

The PM's speech was packed with Ed-isms and the former Labour leader could not resist a snarky comment as pre-speech reports suggested a potential move to control the price of energy bills, as he proposed in 2013.

Echoing the Tory criticism of it at the time, Miliband tweeted: "Marxist, anti-business interventionism imho". The PM's aides and Cabinet colleagues later rejected comparisons with Miliband.

4. Cameron Conservatism is over

David Cameron with family

The Prime Minister praised her predecessor David Cameron and made clear her commitment to "George Osborne's" Northern Powerhouse project, but a central theme of her speech was "a change is going to come" - a reference to Sam Cooke's civil rights anthem.

Her attacks on the "privileged few" and pledges to stand up for "ordinary working class people" would never have been uttered by Mr Cameron and his chancellor.

5. Brexit means Brexit means more than just leaving the European Union

eu flag

May described the shock vote to leave the EU as "a quiet revolution", the "deep roots" of which run back to the 2008 financial crash, and she promised to help disaffected families who "play by the rules" but still feel that life "isn't fair".

6. There were no new policy details

Memorabilia for sale at the Conservative Party shop

May criticised companies that use "complex pricing structures", said it was "just not right" that rural areas do not get a proper broadband connection and hinted at moves to help the two thirds of energy customers who are "stuck" on the most expensive tariffs, without setting out any concrete policies.

7. The Prime Minister has a mystery injury

theresa may

Aides were unable to explain why May was wearing a plaster on her left ring finger, although her decision to speak using paper notes rather than an Autocue may hint at a cut in rehearsals.

8. Theresa May's husband appears to be enjoying life at the top

Philip and Theresa May

Philip May was all smiles as he joined his wife on stage at the speech, readily posing for photos and waving to the adoring crowds, but his dark suit and blue tie were unlikely to spark the same attention as Samantha Cameron's outfits used to - rightly or wrongly.