Baroness Warsi: Theresa May As PM Is Like a Muslim Working in a Pig Abattoir

Sayeeda Warsi, a former chair of the Conservative Party and a Muslim who observes the halal diet, has said Theresa May is as poorly suited to being prime minister as Warsi would be to working in a "pig abattoir."

Speaking to the comedian Matt Forde at his Political Party Xmas Special show in London on Wednesday night, Warsi said: "I just think that the Prime Minister's job goes against everything in her personality."

"It is the equivalent of me, a Muslim who eats halal, getting a job in a pig abattoir," Warsi continued. "I just think, you know, if you really, really don't like something, you just don't kind of go for that job do you?"

Warsi, a Conservative peer who also served in David Cameron's cabinet when May was home secretary, said: "She was a brilliant home secretary, because she does the job well, she's got an eye for detail, she actually does read her brief, she likes to take proper advice.

Sayeeda Warsi
Sayeeda Warsi (L), former British cabinet minister, October 16, 2012. Warsi has questioned Theresa May's suitability as PM. Omar Sobhani/Reuters

"I just think the prime minister's job, which is effectively, look, you're a chairman, you've got to have the ability to get on with people... you don't agree with, you've got to have the ability to bring people together, you've got to have the ability to take decisions, sometimes really bold decisions, and I just think that's not her forte.

"I actually feel for her, because I do think she's probably deeply unhappy, and life's too short for any of us to be in jobs that make us deeply unhappy."

Warsi also spoke about the resistance in some parts of the right-wing press to having her involved with counter-terror strategy as a Muslim politician.

"Journalists wrote articles about this, that I was somehow some closet 'sleeper cell,'" she said. "There was a moment when I had her majesty, the president of the free world—Obama—and David Cameron in the same room, and I didn't go off. So I'm the shittest sleeper cell in history."

And Warsi lamented her party's movement to the right, which began under Cameron. "I just think my party's got to find its way back into the center ground," she said. "I repeat speeches that David Cameron was making in 2006, seven, eight, and then look at what he was saying four, five years later and he changed. The party moved."

Meanwhile Nick Clegg, Forde's other guest, said he'd been spending some of his time since leaving parliament at the 2017 election catching up on Netflix. "I'm halfway through Breaking Bad, which I could never see when I was in government. It's brilliant isn't it?"

Asked what mistakes he thought his party had made at the snap election, where they failed to mount an expected breakthrough, he said placing a second Brexit referendum at the center of their offer was not appealing.

"I don't think it made much sense, in the immediate aftermath of the referendum," Clegg said, "to say to people: 'vote Lib Dem to have another vote, some time in the future, in unspecified circumstances, about something we've just had a vote about."

"If you go to voters with that state of mind... it's too remote, and so I think that was probably, with hindsight, the mistake."

Clegg said his successor as Liberal Democrats Leader, Vince Cable, is not a "team player."

While the relationship between the two of them in government was not "acrimonious," Clegg said "Vince liked to do his own stuff, and politics, certainly when you're under pressure... which obviously as the leader of the smaller party in a coalition I was, it's a team sport, it's a rough contact sport, where team play matters."

Clegg has published a new book, How To Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again). He said: "There's a very nice quote in the beginning of my excellent, bestselling book... from David Davis oddly enough, which says, you know, 'a democracy that can't change its mind ceases to be a democracy.'"

"This idea that on June 23, 2016 there was this Old Testament moment, chiseled in stone, which is immutable forever, even if all the facts, all the promises, all the expectations, all the commitments made by the winning side have turned to dust, that's a nonsense."