May makes light of keynote speech cough with medicine-themed tweet

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Theresa May tried to make light of her persistent cough throughout her keynote conference speech with a light-hearted tweet surrounded by cough medicine.

The Prime Minister's official Twitter account posted a picture of the text of her speech on a table surrounded by Strepsils cough sweets, Olbas Oil and a bottle of Covonia.

The text alongside the picture simply read "*cough*".

The Prime Minister's famous red ministerial box is also visible in the picture, which had been retweeted more than 500 times within 10 minutes of being posted.

During her speech Mrs May was given a cough sweet by Chancellor Philip Hammond, but it appeared to do little to ease her symptoms as she repeatedly paused and sipped water during the speech.

Theresa May holding a cough sweet
(Joe Giddens/PA)

She was given supportive applause by Tory activists as she carried on with the speech, which she hopes will restore her authority after the setback at the general election.

As Mr Hammond delivered the sweet to the stage Mrs May joked: "I hope you noticed that, the Chancellor giving something away free."

Downing Street said Mrs May felt the speech had gone well despite her cough.

Theresa May with a glass of water during her speech
(Joe Giddens/PA)

"She was happy, pleased with the way it worked," said a source. "It is an important speech for her."

Asked to characterise her mood as she came off stage, the source said: "Good. It was a good speech.

"The PM has got her conference cold a little early, but she is fine.

"Since she has been here, she has done 28 interviews and spoken at 19 receptions and that has taken a toll on her voice, but she is fine."

Theresa May clutching her throat
(Joe Giddens/PA)

Mrs May made repeated attempts to make light of her cough during her speech, as she struggled to get her words out.

As she struggled again, shortly after being handed the sweet by Mr Hammond, she said: "You can't get something for nothing. The Chancellor will probably tell me there will be a price to pay in a minute."

Taking another pause moments later, Mrs May said: "Shows what good the Chancellor's cough sweet is."

She also had to pause as she said the economy was back on track, adding: "It sounds as if my voice isn't on track."