Poor, poor Theresa May. Most conference speeches are forgotten by the time party members get home. This one will be remembered for the rest of Theresa May’s career. From the start, where a protester royally upstaged her by getting up to the stage and handing her a P45 for Boris, to the farcical finish, where the letters began falling off the wall behind her, leaving a pathetic “country that works or everyon” – the whole thing was an unmitigated disaster.

What was particularly tragic, is that the substance was actually rather good. The Prime Minister began her speech by outlining the reasons why she joined the Conservative Party more than 40 years ago, stressing that the things that have made her most proud in politics have not been the positions she has held, but “knowing that I made a difference – helped those who cannot be heard”. She humbly apologised for an election campaign which was “too scripted and presidential” and actually succeeded, for the first time, in sounding contrite.

She then announced that there would be an independent review of the Mental Health Act, to tackle injustice, and would press for justice to be done for the families of those killed and injured in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Turning to Brexit, Mrs May said she was “confident that we will find a deal that works for Britain and Europe”. She also reassured European citizens living in the UK that “you are welcome here” and urged negotiators to reach agreement on this policy “because we want you to stay”.

Also in the speech was a pledge that the Prime Minister would make housing her personal “mission” in office, and that the Government would put £2bn into affordable homes which councils and housing associations could bid for.

The end was almost too poignant to bear from the mouth of a leader who is so weakened, both physically and politically, that at times, it looked like her voice wouldn’t hold out until the end of the speech. “The test of a leader,” she said, “is how you respond when tough times come to you. “When faced with challenge, if you emerge stronger. When confronted with adversity, if you find the will to pull through” she spluttered out, before being handed a lozenge by the Chancellor.

The loyal activists in the hall greeted this woeful performance with an immediate standing ovation. But from the looks on their faces as the camera panned round, they were not inspired, they just pitied her. The Tory matrons, out in full force to cheer on Boris the lion yesterday, were there again, but this time, they just looked like they wanted to give the poor Prime Minister a hug.

Downing Street is insisting that the Prime Minister is “pleased” with how it went – but that’s just inconceivable. The poor woman has turned into a walking metaphor for weakness, and surely, now, her days are numbered.