Prime Minister Theresa May speaking outside 10 Downing Street in London after MPs rejected LabourÕs motion of no confidence by 325 votes to 306. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 16, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
© PA

After a torrid week in which she set a record for the biggest government defeat in the House of Commons, Theresa May finally decides on her Brexit plan B — therapy. She sneaks in a Harley Street back entrance and settles on the couch.

May:
How does this work then?
Therapist:
Well, there are probably a few important issues in your life that you find difficult to talk about, so I’ll ask questions to reveal your thinking.
May:
Oh for Pete’s sake, this is just like the bloody House of Commons.
Therapist (laughing nervously):
Except I’m afraid that you have to write a cheque before you leave.
May:
Oh for Pete’s sake, it’s like the bloody EU.
Therapist:
I should mention at the start that we shouldn’t become too emotionally close.
May:
Trust me. That will not be a problem.
Therapist:
Also no one, not even the cabinet or your closest advisers, will find out what we discuss here.
May:
So it’s not all bad.
Therapist: Have you ever made a journey into the unconscious before?
May:
Of course, I’ve visited many local Conservative associations.
Therapist: OK . . . I like to start sessions with a positive affirmation. Theresa, I like your jacket.
May:
Well, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. This is the only jacket I’m wearing today, and so you either accept that I am wearing it or you reject it and I leave this room without your agreement. And, make no mistake — if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, no one could afford a jacket. We would all freeze to death.
Therapist:
I’m detecting you’re quite angry at the moment?
May:
The British people were angry in 2016 and it’s our job to deliver on that. And if Jeremy Corbyn were prime minister . . .
Therapist:
You mention this Jeremy a lot. Is he important to you?
May:
He’s important to everyone in this country.
Therapist:
Can you say more about that?
May:
Not without an unamusing joke about Marxism scripted for me by the Downing Street team, no.
Therapist:
Do you wish Jeremy were here now?
May:
I’ve been very clear. I’d like to speak to parliamentarians on all sides, even though I hate them and entirely reject all their ideas.
Therapist:
Let’s move on. I’m going to say a word and I want you to tell me what comes to mind. First one, “compromise”.
May:
Nothing.
Therapist:
Another one, “mistakes”.
May:
Nothing.
Therapist (becoming desperate): Any dreams you’ve had recently?
May:
Look, plenty of people have dreams, but until they show a workable plan to realise those dreams they are just being grossly irresponsible.
Therapist:
I know a lot of your colleagues voted against your Brexit deal. How did that make you feel?
May:
This isn’t about me.
Therapist:
Do you ever think of . . . doing something else?
May:
Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not how to behave. Look at Andy Murray — he doesn’t just give up tennis when things get tough, does he?
Therapist: Well actually, it depends on the hip replacement.
May:
The hip replacement? Is that what they’re calling Corbyn now? He’s seven years older than I am!
Therapist:
I’m not sure we are understanding each other.
May:
I’ve come here, I’ve answered your questions. But you’ve never once said what you actually want! What about your psychological weaknesses? Have you never suffered a loss of confidence? How are you planning to get out of here?
Therapist:
That’s not really how this works, Theresa —
May:
Don’t you Theresa me. If I wanted to have a humiliating conversation, I would be in Brussels.
Therapist:
In future sessions . . .
May:
I have no intention of coming to more sessions.
Therapist:
Really? That’s strange, because I’ve received a written request for us to meet regularly.
May:
It’s out of the question.
Therapist:
Same time next week?
May:
Fine. But I have a condition.
Therapist:
OK?
May:
Tell me who I make the cheque out to.

henry.mance@ft.com

Get alerts on Brexit when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article