It can’t have been what Theresa May was hoping for.
Before her Conservative Party Conference speech was even over, it was already clear that all the headlines would be about something other than her plan for the nation, Brexit negotiation ideas or even apologies for her performance in the 2017 General Election.
Instead, the whole thing would be overshadowed by a real surprise in the Manchester convention centre – the appearance of a prankster who somehow got past security to hand May a P45 (traditionally given to someone when they leave their job in the UK).
TV prankster Simon Brodkin, best known for his comic character Lee Nelson and his numerous high profile pranks, was behind the stunt, saying afterwards that he delivered the P45 on behalf of Foreign Security (and May’s potential leadership rival) Boris Johnson.
You can watch what happened in the video below.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) October 4, 2017
The reaction in the hall and on social media was, as you might expect, immediate.
THERESA MAY JUST ACCEPTED A P45 FORM DURING HER SPEECH pic.twitter.com/7XuIgD6DBh
— Matthew Champion (@matthewchampion) October 4, 2017
— Nick Linford (@NickLinford) October 4, 2017
Hilarious moment as most polite demonstrator in world hands her a P45. May struggles to deal with it. Talks about a "run on the ground".
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) October 4, 2017
Protester hands May a P45. Silences her for a good minute but now seems to have woken her up
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) October 4, 2017
absolutely incredible. protester hands PM a P45 .. and she takes it. he is still there! now crowd chant “out”. absolute chaos at #CPC17
— Matt Kelly (@mk1969) October 4, 2017
How the HELL did anyone get close enough to the PM to hand her something?
— Gaby Hinsliff (@gabyhinsliff) October 4, 2017
A protester interrupts May's speech to hand her a P45 for Boris Johnson. Absolute scenes.
— Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) October 4, 2017
This is not how the British constitution works. pic.twitter.com/XdlYBEbhHC
— Henry Mance (@henrymance) October 4, 2017
Brodkin confirmed he was behind the prank later on Twitter, after being led out of the hall by security and surrounded by a scrum of journalists.
— Simon Brodkin (@simonbrodkin) October 4, 2017
Protester at PM's speech gives name Simon Rodkins.Says Boris Johnson sent him in to give Theresa May her P40. He's actually comic Lee Nelson pic.twitter.com/MxTkdfO0Oa
— Matt Dathan (@matt_dathan) October 4, 2017
Past stunts include a stage invasion of Kanye West at Glastonbury and the delivery of a “bribe” to FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter at a press conference (below).
The Prime Minister continued with her speech, despite struggling with a cough throughout the address.