Simples! Cringeworthy moment PM mimics cheesy advert in Brexit clash

Simples! The cringeworthy moment the Prime Minister mimics a cheesy TV advert starring cartoon meerkats to tell her opponents that a Brexit solution is easy – vote for her deal

  • PM was dubbed ‘Theresa Meerkat’ after  using the word at the Dispatch Box
  • It’s the catchphrase of an animated meerkat in Compare the Market adverts
  • She made the remark in reply to criticism from the SNP’s Ian Blackford
  • It came after she had revealed that MPs will get to vote on a delay to Brexit 
  • The vote would take place if the Commons continues to block her Brexit plan 

Theresa May mimicked a cartoon meerkat today, telling her opponents that clearing up the increasing mess of Brexit was ‘simples’.  

The Prime Minister used the jarring phrase – popularised by a series of slapstick TV ads for price comparison website Compare the Market – after announcing that MPs would get a chance to vote on postponing Brexit beyond March 29.

Her response to the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford did not go down with opposition politicians or watching commentators.

The meerkats, led by Aleksandr Orlov, have been a feature of Compare the Market’s advertising campaign for 10 years, bringing his ‘simples’ catchphrase into everyday use

He had accused her of wasting nine days of parliamentary time and ‘running down the clock’ before departing from the EU by holding a series of votes, culminating in a vote on extending Article 50 on March 14.

Responding to him, Mrs May said: ‘We are in talks with the EU and we’re talking about the issues this House required.

If he wants to end the uncertainty… then he should vote for a deal. Simples.’

The word, which has since slipped into everyday speech, was a staple in a series of adverts for Compare The Market that have run for the past decade.

They focused on a family of computer-animated versions of the distinctive African grassland dwellers and centered on ‘Russian’ meerkat Aleksandr Orlov.


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He runs the the fictitious Compare the Meerkat website which tries to outdo the deals available on its real almost namesake, with ploys that he believes are always ‘simples’.

The phrase was also used in the Inbetweeners comedy series around the same time. 

 It is not the first time an MP has used a phrase from an advert in the Commons. 

In 2011 Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron was accused of sexism after telling a female MP to ‘calm down dear’ during an NHS debate. 

That phrase came from an insurance advert starring the late restaurant critic and film director Michael Winner.

Labour politicians said they were ‘stunned’ by Mrs May’s comment, with Labour MP Rupa Huq tweeting: ‘Theresa Meerkat just stunned the Commons by Maybot malfunction in stating it’s her deal or no deal then concluding ‘simples’.’

Theresa may at the Dispatch Box in the Commons, where she unveiled a series of votes would take place if her Brexit deal does is voted down again by MPs

Labour MP Liz McInnes said on Twitter: ‘Yes, Theresa May did just respond ‘Simples’ in the Brexit statement. Theresa Meerkat is now in charge. God help us.’

Sharon Hodgson, a Labour MP, said: ‘Really can’t believe the PM has just said her Brexit plan is ‘Simples!’ Well that’s one word for it!’

Compare the Market were quick to jump on the remark, tweeting: ‘We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to keeping life Simples. 

‘Whilst we are not experts on her deal, we are preparing a new deal on energy bills which we will be putting to the people in the near future. #Simples’

 

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