Theresa Mary May (Born 1 October 1956) is a British Conservative politician who has been the British Prime Minister since her election in October of 2007, she was elected as leader of the Conservative Party in December 2005 after the resignation of Michael Howard.
Origins and early political careerEdit
Theresa was born in the town of Eastbourne in Sussex as Theresa Mary Brasier, the daughter of Henry and Judith Brasier she remained in Eastbourne until 1974 where she studied Geography at St Hughes' College, Oxford, leaving in 1977. She met her husband Philip, who is an accountant in 1979 and they married in 1982. They have two children, Emma (b. 19th April 1985) and William (b. 3rd of September 1989).
Between 1985 and 1997 May worked as a financial consultant and was also one of the councillors for the London Borough of Merton between 1986 and 1994; in this post she was Chairman of Education between 1988 and 1990 and Deputy Group Leader and Housing Spokesman between 1992 and 1994. In 1992 she was sent to contest the safe Labour seat of North West Durham and in 1994 she contested the Barking by-election, whilst these contests were tough Party Leaders were impressed by her commitment to the Major government and the Conservative cause. When interviewed by local papers on election day in 1994 she stated that “The Prime Minister is doing his upmost to guarantee the stability of this nation, that’s something that Labour has never been able to do and I shall strive to help this Party protect the country I love from the scourge of reckless Socialism!” However 1997 saw May tone down her rhetoric, on the advice of Ann Widdecombe, a MP who has a seat bordering Maidenhead, the constituency that May would go on to win in the year.
As Member of ParliamentEdit
Having entered parliament she soon became a member of William Hague's front-bench team as Shadow Spokesman for Schools, Disabled People and Women (1998 – June 1999), this appointment certainly boosted May’s career at a time when the Conservatives were desperate to change their image, to this day she credits Hague as the “man who made me”. May became the first of the 1997 MPs to enter the Shadow Cabinet when in 1999 she was appointed Shadow Education and Employment Secretary. After the 2001 election the new Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith retained her services in the Shadow Cabinet, moving her to the Transport portfolio. In this role she opposed then Transport Secretary Stephen Byers in the period leading up to his resignation.
May was appointed the first female chairman in July 2002. During her speech at the 2002 Conservative Party Conference while making a point about why her party must change, she controversially stated that the Conservatives were currently perceived as the "nasty party". In 2003, she was sworn of the Privy Council. After Michael Howard became Conservative leader that year, he made May Shadow Secretary of State for Transport and the Environment. However in June 2004 she was moved to the new position of Shadow Secretary of State for the Family. After the 2005 election she became leader of the Conservative Party after Michael Howard stepped down, she was challenged for party leadership by David Davis and won with a margin of 67.6% of the vote.
Time as leader of the OppositionEdit
On becoming the second woman to lead the Conservative Party May set herself up as a reformist Conservative, drawing a line under Thatcherism and building on the consensus built up in the 1990’s. Her fresh approach certainly helped in making the party which had lost touch with the public far more attractive to voters in Middle England. Shortly after a speech made at the 2005 Conservative Party Conference her party took a lead in the polls over Labour for the first time in over a decade, now it seemed that the Tories were back from their self-imposed political exile and willing to fight against New Labour. With the rise of power of Gordon Brown in 2007 a small bump in the Labour ratings encouraged the Prime Minister to call a General Election for October 2007, after a range of blunders Brown squandered his poll lead and the Conservatives returned to power ten years after Major left Downing Street with a sizeable majority of 424 Members of Parliament to Labour’s 159 and the Liberal Democrat’s 30.
Time as Prime MinisterEdit
As Prime Minister May has been preparing her “Propositions for the Nation”, which are planned to mark the transition between the “failure of New Labours’ experiment” and a “new dawn” for the United Kingdom; she views economic security as a key mission for her Premiership and has publicly declared that she “will not play politics with the nations purse-strings, whilst the Blair-Brown duo bought off the electorate I’m not prepared to do that. I’m in government to build strong foundations for the British economy to grow from and that will be done with true fiscal responsibility.” Another prime issue for her is the “repair” of the “broken society” which she believes was created by New Labours’ “twisted social engineering”, she envisions a country where the family is the corner-stone of society and sees that as key to tackling anti-social behaviour.
The First May Cabinet October 2007 - PresentEdit
- Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service; The Rt. Hon. Theresa May
- Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Rt. Hon. William Hague
- Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; The Rt. Hon. David Cameron
- Home Secretary; The Rt. Hon. Ann Widdecombe
- Secretary of State for Defence; The Rt. Hon. Dr. Liam Fox
- Secretary of State for Health; The Rt. Hon. Andrew Lansley CBE
- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; The Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling
- Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; The Rt. Hon. Peter Ainsworth
- Leader of the House of Commons; The Rt. Hon. Michael Howard
- Leader of the House of Lords; The Rt. Hon. The Lord Strathclyde PC
- Chairman of the Conservative Party; Caroline Spelman MP
Before moving to Downing Street, May called the town of Sonning in Maidenhead home, and this remains the constituency home of the Prime Minister and her husband. Philip May, a chartered accountant, publicly put his “job on ice” once May became Conservative Party leader in order to “give Theresa my full support every hour of the day”, close friends say that May considers him as her most trusted confidante and advisor and some harsher critics in the media call him the “brains behind the heels”. This of course being a reference to May’s love of shoes, so much that the party faithful affectionately call her “Old Kitten Heels”, it does seem that May rather lives up to this image, choosing outrageous combinations such as leopard print high heels.
Her daughter, Emma is currently studying English Language and French at the University of Birmingham whilst her son William studies Medicine at Oxford University.
- "For the small minority who don't accept women, or black or gay people, as their equals, I've got a message: Don't think you'll find a refuge from the world here. There is no place for you in the Conservative Party."
- “You know what some people call us: the nasty party.” - On the Tory Party in 2002