May malfunctions on arrival in Brussels and lapses into old script | John Crace

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As British PM talks about a deal that has already been rejected, EU leaders look on with crushing pity

Action and … smile. Many people had been bewildered when a shaky, hand-held video of an almost human Theresa May had appeared on the Sunday news bulletins. Especially as she had had nothing to say. What they hadn’t realised was that it was a dress rehearsal. All part of a Downing Street plan to get the prime minister to appear, if not chatty – her carers weren’t miracle workers – then at least not language obsolete before her emergency Brussels summit.

Her confused, semi-detached ramblings at the last meeting of the EU Council had seriously pissed off the other 27 leaders, who in turn had chosen to humiliate her by sending her off to sit in a side room on her own for hours on end. Without even a takeaway pizza menu. This time there must be no repetition. The upgrade was in place.

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