• A man holds a piece of paper with P45 written on it as Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) delivers her speech. (AAP)
Plagued by coughing fits and interrupted by a protester, British Prime Minister Theresa May struggled to get through her keynote speech at her party's annual conference on Wednesday.
Source:
Reuters - SBS Wires
4 Oct - 10:31 PM  UPDATED 5 Oct - 10:00 PM

A protester heckled British Prime Minister Theresa May's keynote speech at her annual conference on Wednesday to wave a P45 letter in front her, a document given to employees when they leave their job.

As the protester was bundled out of the hall, May briefly stopped speaking before the party faithful stood to applaud and cheer her.

May struggled to deliver her keynote speech, repeatedly coughing and losing her voice.

Heckling and coughing: UK Prime Minister Theresa May struggles through speech to party faithful

With the party members applauding to keep May going, she had to stop on several occasions to drink water and take a cough sweet which she said came from Chancellor Philip Hammond.

"Shows what good the chancellor's cough sweet is," she said.

At one stage, even some letters fell off the slogan on stage behind her.

Earlier May said her party must fight for a Conservative mainstream political agenda, speaking in her address to the annual party conference.

"We must come together to fight for this mainstream Conservative agenda. To win the battle of ideas in a new generation all over again," May said.

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She took a more personal tone - saying she did not mind being called the "Ice Maiden" and describing her "great sadness" at not having children.

Price cap on energy market

During the speech, Ms May announced her government would impose a price cap on the energy market to help millions of households struggling with rising prices, hitting shares in the leading providers hard.

May had proposed a price cap on the sector earlier this year, the biggest market intervention since privatisation almost 30 years ago, but the plan was thrown into doubt after her ruling Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in an election in June.

Energy bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to an average of about 1,200 pounds ($A2,028) a year, putting the biggest providers in the sights of politicians.

"While we are in favour of free markets we will always take action to fix them when they are broken, we will always take on monopolies and vested interests when they are holding people back," May told the Conservative Party's annual conference on Wednesday.