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18 Jan, 2018 15:20

‘The new iron lady’ - Daily Mail front page hailing May as new Thatcher mocked one year on

‘The new iron lady’ - Daily Mail front page hailing May as new Thatcher mocked one year on

A year after the Daily Mail predicted Theresa May would be the next Margaret Thatcher, following in the footsteps of the ‘Iron Lady’ and taking Brussels to task over Brexit. Britons are marking the anniversary with dismay.

It turns out the man behind the front page splash which celebrated the then newly appointed-British Prime Minister was given a job by her team just three months later.

James Slack took the helm as the Daily Mail’s political editor in October 2015. During his tenure the UK went through one of its more tumultuous periods in recent political history; the lead-up to Brexit and its fallout following a vote to leave the union.

Following May’s issuing of Article 50, Slack heaped praise on the PM, telling hundreds of thousands of readers it was a momentous occasion, adding that “we’ll walk away from a bad deal – and make [the] EU pay.”

The front page titled ‘The steel of the new iron lady’ called the moment Number 10 told Brussels they would be leaving the single market, the “most important speech of her premiership.”

Slack courted infamy in November 2016, printing the faces of Supreme Court judges, who ruled the government needed to consult parliament before it could leave the EU, underneath which was written 'Enemies of the People.' The front page received more than 1,000 complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation and was likened to 1930s Nazi Germany propaganda.

Despite this, in the year that followed Slack took a new job as the PM's official spokesperson, watching on as his boss bungled Brexit and lost her parliamentary majority.

The UK all but begged for extra time to negotiate under a “transitional deal” and capitulated to a number of EU demands – most notably paying tens of billions in a divorce bill, which Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson originally said the EU could “go whistle” for.

Domestically things have fared not much better for May, losing the Conservatives’ parliamentary majority in the June 2017 General Election in a widely-maligned campaign.

Journalist James O’Brien was one of the first to point out the irony of the Daily Mail’s front page one year on.

“First anniversary of this [Daily Mail front page] today. In many professions, such rank incompetence would be penalised, possibly even career-ending. The man who wrote this is now the Downing Street Press Secretary. You're unlikely to encounter anything more emblematic of the national pageant today,” he wrote.

Slack’s appointment enraged other Britons who saw the move as evidence of the mainstream media and government being too closely tied.

One man tweted that he couldn't “wait for them to be thrown out of office.”

While pro-EU blogger, Steve Bullock, reminded his followers of Slack’s rise to power.

Anti-Brexit campaigner rounded things off, slamming May for being 'complicit in the creation of the climate of hate & violence that has led to death threats to MPs.'

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