Then, toward the end of the address, letters began to fall from the slogan behind her onstage.
The speech highlighted the problems confronting Mrs. May â her battle to complete it seeming to some like a metaphor for her struggling premiership, the set of mishaps overshadowing the messages she hoped would dominate the news.
The four-day conference in Manchester is the first since Mrs. May gambled by calling a general election in June, in which her Conservative Party lost its majority after an unexpectedly strong performance from the opposition Labour Party, destroying much of her authority in the process.
Under the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Labourâs anti-austerity message struck a chord, particularly with younger voters, who turned out in greater numbers than usual, leaving many Conservative activists in Manchester wondering how to compete.
As the debate about the Conservative Partyâs future has unfolded at the conference center and beyond, Mrs. Mayâs potential successors have had a chance to grab the limelight, and none took that opportunity more ruthlessly than the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who has made two interventions undermining Mrs. Mayâs strategy for negotiating Britainâs withdrawal from the European Union, known as Brexit.
On Wednesday, Mrs. May promised more homes would be built to tackle the countryâs housing crisis, detailed a cap on energy prices and promised to forge a British version of the American dream.
She apologized also to Conservative Party members for an election campaign that was âtoo scripted, too presidential.â
But, Mrs. May was soon interrupted by a prankster, who handed her a P45 â a form that is sent to Britons who lose their jobs â saying âBoris asked me to give you this,â before being ejected from the hall.