Tuesday 25 October 2016

Theresa May: Meet the woman who will be Britain's new Prime Minister

Published 11/07/2016 | 16:15

Theresa May Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Theresa May Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

She will be the British Prime Minister on Wednesday so it's time to learn more about Theresa May.

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Who is Theresa May?

Theresa Mary May is the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead.

Born on October 1st 1956 in Eastbourne, Sussex, she was educated at Holton Park Girls' Grammar School, Oxfordshire, and St Hugh’s College Oxford (Geography).

Theresa May. Photo: PA
Theresa May. Photo: PA

She entered Parliament in 1997 and is currently the longest serving Home Secretary in 50 years.


How did she become Prime Minister?

Mrs May, 59, will be declared Prime Minister now energy minister Andrea Leadsom has quit the two-way race to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party.

It followed the furore around Mrs Leadsom's comments suggesting being a mother made her a better candidate for the job than Mrs May.

The chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee will have to decide whether, as the only candidate remaining on the ballot paper, she can become leader without facing a vote of the party's 150,000 members.

If they do confirm her appointment, Mrs May will become Britain's second female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher.


Who is Theresa May's husband?

She is married to banker Philip May and has no children. The pair, who have a shared love of cricket, met at a Conservative Association dance party and have been married for 36 years. They live in Sonning, Berkshire.

Mrs May is truly the quiet woman of British politics. The Home Secretary played a clever hand during the EU referendum by staying out of the fray and letting events play out around her.

Her restrained approach has helped her avoid alienating Tory Brexiteers, and the polls suggest her reputation has held up better than some of her potential leadership rivals.

In an interview with the BBC she gave us a taste of which direction the Party could go under her leadership when she made a clear call for "further reform" to EU free movement rules.

The Oxford romance that has guided Theresa May from tragedy to triumph. 


Before politics

Born to Anglican vicar Reverend Hubert Brasier and his wife Zaidee, only child Mrs May grew up in Oxfordshire. She was educated at both grammar and comprehensive schools before gaining a place at Oxford University.

She started her career at the Bank of England and then Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) before becoming an MP.

She began her political career stuffing envelopes at her local Conservative Association before going on to be a councillor in the London Borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994.


Key quote

“We know that for people in low-paid jobs, wages are forced down even further (as a result of immigration) while some people are forced out of work altogether”


Key moments

1999 - 2010: Holds a variety of shadow cabinet posts

2002: Becomes the first female chair of the Conservatives and says it is seen as the “nasty party” - while wearing a pair of now-famous leopard print kitten heels

2010 - 2012: Minister for Women & Equalities 2010: Appointed Home Secretary, and makes it her mission to reform the police service and control immigration

2012: Blocks British computer hacker Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the US saying it would contravene his human rights

2014: Becomes the longest serving Home Secretary for 50 years

2016: Touted as frontrunner to replace David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister


Political experience

Councillor, London Borough of Merton 1986-94

1992 Parliamentary Candidate NW Durham

1994 Parliamentary Candidate in the Barking by-election

MP for Maidenhead 1997 to present

Shadow Education Secretary 1999-2001

Shadow Transport 2001-2003, Conservative Party Chairman 2002-3

Shadow Transport 2003-4

Shadow Culture Media & Sport 2004-5

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 2005-9

Shadow Work & Pensions 2009-10

Home Secretary 2010-present


Other experience

Bank of England 1977-83

Association of Clearing Payment Services 1985-95


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