May finally livens up her speech

The Prime Minister may not think she has much to thank Boris Johnson for - but he has at least forced her indirectly to spice up her normal dreary speech-making.

Theresa May and her aides must have watched in something approaching horror his barnstorming speech to a near ecstatic audience of 1,000 Tory conference delegates at a fringe meeting in Birmingham last week.

She obviously quickly realised she had better do something - without delay - to try to rid herself of her notorious “glumbucket” performances on the rostrum.

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And it seemed to work. For once, she delivered a lively speech - easily the best since becoming Prime Minister - to an audience which she had already charmed with a few jokes and some self-deprecating dance steps and piston-like movements as she approached the lectern.

She is not out of the woods yet - there are a number of Tory MPs who still want to pitch her out of Downing Street - but she has taken some of the heat off herself.

However, she must beware: Jeremy Corbyn’s Opposition, in a welcome move, has started to liven itself up and provide more of a problem for the already quarrelsome Tories than hitherto. May must watch her step.

One thing in her favour, is that she does not flinch under fire. That virtue might just carry her through.

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- What an old grump is Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, just at a time when there looks like being some kind of breakthrough in the marathon Brexit negotiations?

Juncker has chosen now to direct his bile at the British press, saying: “They do not respect the human rights of political actors at all. I shall not miss them.”

As Enoch Powell once put it: “A politician who complains about the press is like the captain of a ship complaining about the sea.”

Juncker has been targeted regularly by some newspapers over his alleged heavy drinking. But if he is so upset about a critical press, he should never have gone into politics at all.