Great Britain

‘I don’t think I’m robotic,’ British Prime Minister Theresa May tells BBC listeners during cricket broadcast

The interview also covered politics, with May accepting she must bear some blame for the election result in June

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 September, 2017, 8:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 September, 2017, 8:15am

British Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she is not robotic in an interview with the BBC’s Test Match Special programme – and attempted to prove it by bringing along a box of her home-made brownies for the presenters.

The prime minister, a lifelong cricket fan, was the lunchtime guest on the BBC radio show, where she was questioned on everything from Hurricane Irma to cookery and politics.

Asked by the host, Jonathan Agnew, whether she felt she had come across as herself in June’s election, May said she did not enjoy the popular characterisation of her as impersonal and repetitive.

I get frustrated. People use the term ‘robotic’ about me. I don’t think I’m in the least robotic
British Prime Minister Theresa May

“I get frustrated,” she said. “People use the term ‘robotic’ about me. I don’t think I’m in the least robotic.”

Guests traditionally bring cakes to Test Match Special, and after an initial chat about Irma – which May called “absolutely devastating” – the prime minister said she had baked chocolate brownies herself at Downing Street.

Asked which recipe she used, May said: “As this is on the BBC I don’t know if I can reveal which cook I used” before saying it was from Nigel Slater.

She added: “I have made brownies for TMS before, once when Geoffrey Boycott was invited. I brought some brownies up. I handed them to Geoffrey but I don’t know whether they ever made it into the TMS box.”

She added: “All I will say is that Geoffrey Boycott’s still got my Tupperware.”

Boycott, the former England batsman who is now a commentator on the show, was renowned for his deliberate style of play, which some accused of being boring.

May explained why she admired Boycott as a player: “The fact that he just stuck in there and got on with the job, that was the great thing.”

Asked by Agnew, “Didn’t he bore you to tears?” May replied: “The whole point was he stuck at it. He had a plan and he got on with it, and more often than not delivered.”

After Agnew likened May’s approach to answering questions from the media to Boycott’s safety-first approach to batting, the prime minister denied she was evasive: “You are answering the question, but you may not be giving the answer that the interviewer wants to hear. There’s a difference. That’s not answer evasion.”

May said she found it “much harder” to follow cricket as prime minister: “I’m not able to see much these days, I’m afraid, and there’s not a lot of time to keep up with it.”

I believe that Donald Trump as American president will take the decisions that are right for security and safety
British Prime Minister Theresa May

The interview also covered politics, with May accepting she must bear some blame for the election result in June.

“It is difficult to go into an election thinking, hoping, working for a particular result and then getting a different result,” she said. “As the leader of the party of course you have to take it to a degree personally, and you have to accept that responsibility.”

The generally gentle interview included some tough questions, including a series on US President Donald Trump, who Agnew likened to Boycott – being “unpredictable, awkward, outspoken” and with a fondness for Twitter.

Asked if “the world is a safer place” with Trump in power, May initially avoided the question before saying: “I believe that Donald Trump as American president will take the decisions that are right for security and safety around the world. He has very good advisers around him.”

Asked about the incident during her visit to Washington soon after Trump took office when the US president grasped her hand as they walked, May described this as “genuinely a moment of assistance” as they reached a ramp.