Why Do I Put Myself Through This, Beleaguered May Asks Herself

May Pranked by Comedian During Conference Speech

She’s lost her parliamentary majority, her cabinet is squabbling over Brexit -- and a heckler at the Tory party conference handed her a notice to quit.

“People ask me why I put myself through it -- the long hours, the pressure, the criticism and insults that inevitably go with the job,” Theresa May had just told the Tory party faithful in Manchester. “I tell them this: I do it to root out injustice and to give everyone in our country a voice.”

She went into a lengthy explanation of her efforts to tackle child sexual abuse, help ethnic minorities overcome discrimination and tackle the stigma suffered by those suffering mental-health problems. Eight issues in all: “That’s what I’m in this for,” she said every time.

A protester hands May a pretend P45.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Minutes later, a protester was able to approach the lectern and he handed her a pretend P45 -- the document employees are given in the U.K. when they’re fired. He was escorted from the hall by security men, but after a stirring ovation from her supporters, the woman sometimes dubbed the “Maybot” for her robotic delivery was able to turn the situation to her advantage with a rare unscripted jibe at the leader of the opposition Labour Party.

“I was about to talk about somebody I’d like to give a P45 to, and that’s Jeremy Corbyn,” she said.

Then things started to go wrong again. The throatiness that’s been dogging May all week turned to a recurrent cough, and her voice wavered as she plowed on with her speech. No wonder she asks herself why she does it.

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