Theresa May: UK Conservatives rally behind embattled PM after speech fiasco

A prankster who has previously targeted US President Donald Trump and former Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter interrupted British Prime Minister Theresa May's keynote speech at her annual conference on Wednesday.

Britain's under-fire Prime Minister Theresa May was facing a fight for her political life Friday with a growing number of her own MPs said to favor a challenge to her leadership.

Mrs May's speech was also interrupted by fits of coughing, which she laughed off.

"If ever the PM needed a metaphor for service and duty and resolution through adversity, that battling performance was it!"

A spokesperson for the Conservative Party, or Tories, announced plans to work with police to review their vetting policies for future applicants.

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The address had been billed in some quarters as potentially make or break for her premiership following the botched snap election in which the Tories lost their majority.

The comedian had signed the document with the name of Boris Johnson - May's foreign secretary, once thought to have had leadership ambitions. May spoke of plans to "reignite home ownership" in United Kingdom and said the government plans to invest an additional £2bn in affordable housing, taking the total budget up to nearly £9bn.

Mr Shapps said those seeking to topple Ms May had no single candidate they wished to replace her but that the group included both supporters and opponents of Brexit.

May, meanwhile, is recovering from her cold and cough that ruined her party speech at home in her Maidenhead constituency before spending the weekend at the prime minister's country retreat in Chequers.

After Ms May's bungled election, her failure to unite the cabinet and a poor party conference, "the writing is on the wall", he said.

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"Then yesterday, journalists contacted me and told me the whips are saying 'you've got the list'".

A supportive room full of activists at one point gave the Prime Minister a standing ovation, as she tried to regain her composure and an aide brought a glass of water and a lozenge. It will compound numerous views that they already have for her.

Shapps, who resigned as party chairman in 2015 in the wake of the Tory bullying scandal, said he believed he had the support of up to 30 Conservative MPs for the coup and had hoped to go privately to May and encourage her to go.

Gove's intervention came as United Kingdom home secretary Amber Rudd made a very public appeal in "The Daily Telegraph" asking May?to continue despite the "trio of mishaps" that blighted her conference speech.

According to him, rebels included five former cabinet ministers.

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  • Ryan Wade