Theresa May can hold her head up high

And so it’s all over. The barracking, the buffeting, the noisy and that unbelievably crass behaviour by some, which said a long goodbye to a lady whose only crime was probably being too nice and sometimes getting things wrong.

Theresa May leaves Downing Street
Theresa May leaves Downing Street

But wherever the future takes her, even as she was clapped out of Downing Street, Theresa May could hold her head high and know that she did her best.

Which is something that few of us can achieve all the time.

And whatever rainy days lie ahead, I would have no doubt at all that Mrs May would behave as decently and as courteously as she always has done. We should not use that “only the vicar’s daughter” comment as some sort of sarcastic reason for her good behaviour.

Theresa in 2016 and 2019

She is what she is in her own right.

But over the many years now that she has been in public office, I’m sure Mrs May has always done the right thing as she saw it, whatever the personal cost.

And my goodness, as we have seen over these past weeks, she has had to take slings and arrows as she went, as well and how she must have flinched at all those implications and in the face of undisguised insults, flung so carelessly at her. Even at this week’s handover of responsibilities, any shred of being sorry or of apology simply faded away. Warm tributes to her? A few cool ones maybe but rather, the distinct impression that they were just glad to see her go.

Theresa with Donald Trump

It is heartening that the outgoing Prime Minister made her final Question Time a mix of achievement for which few gave her credit, some feisty moments, a bit of humour and the promise to her Maidenhead constituency that she wasn’t going anywhere except back to them!

But pause here for a minute and think how Theresa got to this situation in the first place. Fresh from seeing the Queen just three short years ago and with a solid reputation as Home Secretary, the future looked bright and she relished the challenge which beckoned.

Soon, though, darker days were ahead.

Theresa at her final PMQs

Theresa was accused of lying, of being incompetent and was told that she wasn’t up to the job. Even if that was true, which it wasn’t, there are ways of delivering it which don’t include glee.

Much more significantly – and only those who must take regular life-saving medication each day can totally understand this one – Theresa has diabetes and does indeed have to take the critical medicines day by day.

What on earth must that be like when you are dashing around Europe and so often dealing with crisis meetings?

So what for now and beyond? Having chatted to Theresa May at conferences and had dinner with her over the years, if she still wants a role, I hope very much that she will find a good one, one which she deserves and which deserves her.

Theresa arrives for the welcoming session at the G20 Summit in Osaka

But before then, surely the space will be filled with walking boots, anoraks, sun hats and the rest of the paraphernalia needed for serious walking. Time spent with hubby Philip, who she calls “my Rock”, has always been special and surely now, even more so. Then come on, the Mays, how about a few luxury hotel dates dozing in the sunshine and all that kind of thing?

And if any others of us should catch up with the couple getting their strength and enthusiasm back, you’ll actually find an entertaining pair to chat to – and get Theresa to tell you the milkman story. When she became Home Secretary, her own milkie, suitably impressed with the appointment, enquired whether the new job would affect her milk requirements.

Beneath that quiet and serious exterior, Theresa May has a catchy sense of humour. And everyone must surely admire the way she has held her reactions together and continued with what she saw as her duty at that time. Yet word is, that those in major meetings with her would refuse to call her Prime Minister.

Whatever the future holds for her, we should put it on record in the mad months before Brexit – or even years – she was almost cruelly treated by some. As for Boris, well we shall see whether his daft ways, humour, clownish behaviour and so forth win the day. Watch this space.

For now, let it be remembered that Theresa May is a good Christian lady who has simply done her best. She has been treated badly and the least we should also do is feel ashamed, apologise and mean it.

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