'Pretty excruciating': Tory conference reacts to May's speech ordeal

Theresa May 'handed P45' amid coughing fit during speech

Theresa May's speech overshadowed by a persistent cough and a prankster

"I don't think it's just a question of whether this was Theresa May's last stand but actually it is quite clear that it was the Conservative Party Government's last stand when they did not address at this conference the key issues that are facing us today".

May's already precarious position looked even worse after her speech was plagued by a prankster trying to deliver a redundancy notice as she spoke, lettering falling from the conference slogan behind her and a persistent cough that affected her voice.

Overall, pundits are suggesting that May's stock is not rallying after the speech, which comes after she lost her party's majority in a June election gamble.

To trigger a formal leadership challenge, 48 Conservative lawmakers need to write to the chairman of the party's so-called 1922 Committee.

Delivered on the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, May's speech was meant to reassert her authority and mark a fresh start for her party following an underwhelming election result in June's snap election.

"Boris asked me to give this to you", Nelson, also known as Simon Brodkin, told May, a reference to British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.

She also apologised to activists in Manchester for an election campaign that was "too scripted, too presidential".

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He said the group of MPs supporting him included both Brexiters and those who supported remaining in the European Union.

Shapps, who served as Tory party chairman for three years, says a "growing number" of MPs, including five former cabinet ministers, want May to step down. "[Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson] told me to hand her a P45", the prankster said afterward.

According to him, up to 30 Conservative Party members support the move to oust her, which is a real danger for Prime Minister May and her ability to pass legislation as she leads a minority government where every vote counts.

They said the "image of her leaving Downing Street with tears in her eyes" would have a profound effect on the party.

"The test of a leader is how you respond when tough times come upon you", she said at the conclusion of her speech, prompting applause.

But she is under growing pressure over negotiations in Brussels, while the increasing popularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn poses a threat. In a morning radio interview Gove said: "No one is burying their heads in the sand".

Shapps defended his decision to challenge May's leadership, saying: "We're not on the right path and the answer - after a frankly disastrous election - to have a new leader is hardly a radical thought".

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