- Theresa May gave a major speech on Wednesday, attacking the rise of populist politicians around the globe.
- In an apparently coded attack on Trump she attacked those who see the “increasingly adversarial nature of international relations … as a zero sum game where one country can only gain if others lose.”
- The prime minister’s comments come ahead of her resignation as prime minister next week.
- In a veiled attack on her likely successor, Boris Johnson, she said her party should not be “making promises you cannot keep, [or] just telling people what you think they want to hear.
LONDON — Theresa May has used her last major speech as prime minister to attack the rise of populist politicians around the globe who believe that “power, unconstrained by rules, is the only currency of value.”
In an apparently coded attack on President Donald Trump, May criticised the “increasingly adversarial nature of international relations,” which “some view as a zero-sum game where one country can only gain if others lose.”
“Populist movements have seized the opportunity to capitalise on that vacuum,” she said during a speech in central London.
“They have embraced the politics of division; identifying the enemies to blame for our problems and offering apparently easy answers.
May, who is due to stand down as prime minister next week, said that this “absolutism at home and abroad is the opposite of politics at its best.
She added: “It refuses to accept that other points of view are reasonable. It ascribes bad motives to those taking those different views.”
She quoted former US president Eisenhower, who once wrote that: “People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable … Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.”
May is due to stand down as prime minister next week. In a thinly veiled attack on her likely successor, Boris Johnson, May said her party should not be “making promises you cannot keep, or by just telling people what you think they want to hear.”
Asked whether her comments referred specifically to Trump and Johnson, May insisted that she was making a “general” point about the rise of populist politicians around the world.
The comments came in the wake of Trump’s recent public attacks on the prime minister, in which he accused her of being “foolish” and said her handling of Brexit was a “mess.”
May this week hit back at Trump, with her spokesman saying that the president’s recent tweets telling progressive congresswomen to “go back” where they came from were “completely unacceptable.”