Pro-Europeans have a champion: her name is Theresa May | Martin Kettle

Anyone who cares about Britain’s relationship with the EU should back her against the right of her party

Theresa May doesn’t do spontaneous. Most of the time, to the delight and profit of the parliamentary sketchwriters’ guild, she is scripted and self-disciplined to a fault. She repeats her lines until the repetition is a form of torture. So how do we explain it if, just once, she strays momentarily off piste?

Don’t get this wrong. Off piste for May is an extremely relative concept. It is not the same as for Boris Johnson. Blink and, in May’s case, you miss it. Most of the time, the vicar’s daughter’s approach to her job seems to echo the words of Lucy Baldwin, wife of the Tory prime minister Stanley, who, when asked at Lord Curzon’s funeral in 1925 whether she was a believer, replied: “I am indeed, and I must tell you that every morning when we rise, we kneel together before God and commend our day to Him, praying that some good work may be done in it by us. It is not for ourselves that we are working, but for the country and for God’s sake. How else could we live?”

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