Theresa May has told how she shed a “little tear” when she saw the shock exit poll on election night predicting she was about to lose her majority.
The Prime Minister’s husband Philip broke the news and gave her a hug to console her, she told BBC’s Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett.
Mrs May admitted she was “devastated” by the outcome of the June 8 vote and admitted it had come as a “complete shock”.
Mrs May has found her authority diminished since the disastrous general election she called to get a mandate for Brexit.
In an interview to mark her first year in No 10, the PM said she had not watched the exit poll as “I have a little bit of superstition about things like that”.
“We didn’t see the result that came coming,” she said.
“When the result came through, it was a complete shock.
“It took a few minutes for it to sort of sink in, what that was telling me. My husband gave me a hug.”
Mrs May said it was “distressing” to see good colleagues losing their seats.
Admitting she knew the campaign “wasn’t going perfectly”, the PM said she had still expected a “better” result.
When asked if she was devastated enough to shed a tear, Mrs May replied: “Yes, a little tear … at that moment.”
Over the course of an interview in Downing Street lasting more than 20 minutes, Mrs May opened up about the emotional impact of the result, but insisted she had never considered stepping down.
“I felt, I suppose, devastated really because, as I say, I knew the campaign wasn’t going perfectly but, still, the messages I was getting, people I was speaking to, but also the comments we were getting back from a lot of people that were being passed on to me were that we were going to get a better result than we did,” she said.
“You have a responsibility. You are a human being, you have been through that experience, I was there as leader of the party and Prime Minister and I had a responsibility then to, as we went through the night, to determine what we were going to do the next morning.
“No, I didn’t consider stepping down because I felt there was a responsibility there to ensure that the country still had a government.”
Mrs May said there should have been a more positive message during the campaign but she did not regret calling the election because it was “the right thing to do at the time”.
She added: “It can be easy sometimes if something like this happens just to walk away and leave somebody else to deal with it.”
Mrs May said she would tell her younger self: “Believe in yourself, always do the right thing and work hard to tackle injustice when you see it.”
Asked when she would leave office, the PM replied: “I see still that there’s a lot that we need to do and as Prime Minister I want to get on with that job.”