Fifteen years ago, Theresa May found herself in a spot of bother.
Newly appointed as chairman of the Conservative Party, she was determined both to make her mark as the first female occupant of the role, and to begin what she saw as the crucial task of modernisation following the Tories’ second bruising election defeat to New Labour.
Her analysis of the challenges facing a party still coming to terms with the 20th century, let alone the 21st, would prove prescient. But in her perhaps understandable desire to make a splash at her first major outing, a speech to the 2002 Conservative Party Conference, she committed what would, until recently, prove her gravest error.
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