Tag Theresa May

The many faces of ‘no’

Theresa May seems to have developed many ways of saying ‘no’ without actually meaning it. In her interview with Andrew Marr at the weekend, she frequently used reduced articulations of the word (e.g. ‘n-’) to preface her responses to Marr’s… Continue Reading →

Slip of the Tongue: Borrowing from downstream

Speech errors (slips of the tongue) often ‘borrow’ from language in the mind that is downstream of the target language. Here is a good example from Theresa May at PMQs.

Bad things always come in threes

One way to put a politician on the spot is to ask them how many people have been affected by their policy. Three times seems to be the optimum number of times to ask according to the Andrew Marr’s rulebook… Continue Reading →

A brief bit of brevity

Prime Minister’s question time (PMQs) is known for lengthy questions and answers from Prime Ministers and backbenchers so it was interesting to observe a brief bit of brevity from the Prime Minister in two of her answers on Wednesday.

Never ask a genuine question at PMQs

Lawyers sometimes say that you should never ask a witness a question during trial to which you don’t the answer to. The same principles usually operates in Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons where the question and answer… Continue Reading →

Pausing as a marker of equivocation intentions

Pausing briefly while speaking is a natural part of delivery. We pause for several reason. The most obvious one is to take breath so we can carry on speaking. Some pauses occur before content words or complex clauses suggesting that… Continue Reading →

Detachment

Emily Maitlis interviewed the Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Newsnight last night regarding the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. The Prime Minister had been criticised for not talking to the residents of the area when she had visited the site during… Continue Reading →

Andrew Neil interviews Theresa May

Andrew Neil interviewed the Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Monday. Neil held back from his typical ‘bull-dog’ style attack that is a regular feature of his Daily and Sunday Politics programmes. Politicians often leave with visible ‘bite marks’ from these… Continue Reading →

The significance of hesitations

Hesitation in delivery is a normal part of spoken discourse, especially in stressful speaking situations, and is normally discarded by listeners. In the House of Commons however, just before a demanding election campaign and when a manifesto is being prepared,… Continue Reading →

Cueing your own ‘revealing ah’

Can a politician cue their own ‘revealing ah’? Theresa May appeared to do this at Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday in the House.

Dodging questions

The weekend seemed to be the time for dodging questions for politicians up and down the politician spectrum. Theresa May was dodging questions on a nuclear missile test. Jeremy Corbyn was dodging questions on whether he would use whips in… Continue Reading →

The semantics and pragmatics of ‘Brexit means Brexit’

We have been tracking the use of the slogan ‘Brexit means Brexit’ at neutralfooting. At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday we learnt a little more about its use though the Prime Minister who originally coined this soundbite.

Strategies for holding the floor

Holding the floor in the House of Commons during PMQs is not easy. With noise, shouting and barracking from members of the chamber, it can be quite easy for the current speaker at the dispatch box to become ruffled. This… Continue Reading →

PMQs watch: Theresa May’s first outing – a touch of Thatcher perhaps?

Theresa May delivered her first Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon and came through the event relatively unscathed with a touch of “Thatcher” to her performance as some commentators noted. Her former boss, David Cameron, developed… Continue Reading →

May’s first PMQs

Theresa May, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will perform her first Prime Minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday in the House of Commons. PMQs is known to be a testing ground for new Prime Minister’s and leaders –… Continue Reading →

PMQs Watch: Humour at Cameron’s last PMQs

Politicians are not noted for their stand-up comedy routines, but there was plenty of good humour at David Cameron’s last Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Many of the jokes were scripted and some fell a… Continue Reading →

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