After Theresa May’s well-received “soz” to the 1922 committee of MPs, we look at how politicians from Clinton to Cameron said sorry
1. The “Oops” – Theresa May on the snap election
After seven weeks bleating some of the stupidest campaign slogans yet to insult the British people (we’re looking at you, magical money tree), Theresa May made a surprisingly good speech to her fellow MPs. “I got us into this mess and I’ll get us out of it,” she promised – to loud cheers from a group who still hate her, but realised just in time that they hate Boris Johnson more.
2. The non-apology apology – Tony Blair
Is Tony Blair sorry about the Iraq war? He’s sorry that he planned it badly: “For all of this, I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever know or believe.” But he still reckons getting rid of Saddam was a thumping good idea. “What I cannot and will not do is say we took the wrong decision.”
3. The too little, too late – Nick Clegg
Spotting that an entire generation of young people were quite pissed off with him after voting Liberal Democrat as a protest vote about university tuition fees – only for the Liberal Democrats to triple university tuition fees – the former Deputy Prime Minister tried a little charm. “When you’ve made a mistake, you should apologise,” he said. “But most importantly you’ve got to learn from your mistakes.” Which is why he probably won’t be doing any more video apologies after a heavily indebted student autotuned the clip.
4. The confessional – Bill Clinton
Caught out for shagging an intern and lying about it in 1998, the US President (those were the days) told a breakfast meeting of religious leaders that he had sinned, asking for forgiveness and speaking of repentance and even wanging in the Bible for good measure. While still managing, on account of his resting smirk face, to look like a massive shagger who would do it all again given half the chance.
5. The “Sorry that somebody else screwed up” – David Cameron
Our most apologetic Prime Minister to date made a sort of hobby of apologising for stuff his predecessors had screwed up, from Bloody Sunday to Hillsborough to the Amritsar massacre. But when he called a referendum on EU membership and lost, leaving a legacy of political chaos and economic uncertainty? “I wish I had won … I am sad about that,” he reflected, before skipping off into the private sector to charge six-figure sums for talking about it.