Instead choosing to focus on the Conservative domestic record in government, the speech was light on policy and announcements, announcing only a freeze in fuel duty, extra money for cancer treatment and extra borrowing for housebuilding.
May received a standing ovation after dancing onto the stage to Dancing Queen by ABBA, a self-deprecating reference to social media memes that emerged after she danced at a ceremony on her recent trip to Africa.
The prime minister will brush off weeks of Tory in-fighting over the Brexit negotiations with a speech titled “the future is in our hands”.
Her words were aimed at easing the growing frustration of some Conservatives who openly say their party is directionless, unable to set an agenda against the divisive rows over Brexit between competing wings of the party.
“And our message to them must be this – We get it”.
The DUP leader delivered a speech at the event that attempted to chart a middle-ground of respect for LGBT+ rights while defending her stance against same-sex marriage. May is buffeted from all directions, with European officials anxious that the two sides are heading for a messy divorce.
He argues that while she might not lead her party into the next general election, she still has the authority to define the parameters of what follows her and the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU.
She mixed optimism with a show of determination in a sweeping hour-long address.
In her speech later, Mrs May will plead with “decent patriots” to unite behind her today saying Britain’s “best days lie ahead”.
Just six months before Britain leaves on March 29, negotiations with the European Union have ground to a halt and May is caught between Brexiteers like Johnson and those who want to keep close economic ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner. They want a clean break.
Under the EU’s current free movement rules, citizens from within the 28-member economic bloc have so far been able to enter the United Kingdom freely and look for work on arrival as opposed to strict visa norms that apply to non-EU workers from countries like India.
In her crucial keynote speech to the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Mrs May said next year’s post-Brexit Spending Review will set out a programme of increased investment in public services, as a mark that the decade of cuts following the financial crash is coming to an end. Johnson said simply that Britain should use a 20-month transition period after Brexit to negotiate a looser, Canada-style free trade deal while stepping up preparations for a “no-deal” exit.
“Or a deal that carves off Northern Ireland, a part of this country, effectively leaving it in the EU’s Custom’s Union”.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is propping up Mrs May’s minority government, has warned that any attempt to implement a regulatory border in the Irish Sea would collapse the parties’ confidence and supply agreement.