After Britain sent the world into a flurry by voting for Brexit (Britain’s exit from the European Union) and David Cameron decided to step down as Prime Minister, all eyes were on what happens next in the former colonial power. Following Cameron’s resignation, announced her candidacy to lead the Conservative Party. She won the two rounds of voting and progressed to a vote of the Conservative Party membership against Andrea Leadsom.
May finally emerged victorious after Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest. She was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth II on 13th July 2016.
As she assumes office, let us look at some interesting facts about UK’s new Prime Minister.
- May is the second female Prime Minister UK has seen. The only other woman to be prime minister of Britain is Margaret Thatcher, who held power from 1979 to 1990.
- She was the Home Secretary in Cameron’s cabinet.
On 12 May 2010, when May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his first Cabinet, she became the fourth woman to hold one of the British Great Offices of State, after (in order of seniority) Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister), Margaret Beckett (Foreign Secretary) and Jacqui Smith (Home Secretary). She was the longest-serving Home Secretary for over 60 years, since James Chuter Ede who served over six years and two months from August 1945 to October 1951.
- She pronounced social justice and inclusivity as two of her most important goals.
In her first speech as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street, May pledged to lead in the “same spirit” as her predecessor Cameron, to focus on social justice, and to ensure that Britain will “forge a bold, new, positive role” after its departure from the European Union. “We will make Britain a country that works not just for a privileged few but for every one of us,” May said. “Together we will build a better Britain.”
- One of Theresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister was to move responsibility for climate change to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Government advisers had warned of the need to take urgent action to prepare the UK for floods, droughts, heatwaves and food shortages caused by climate change. However, this decision to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change has been variously condemned as “plain stupid”, “deeply worrying” and “terrible” by politicians, campaigners and experts.
- Soon after assuming office, May overhauled the Cabinet.
George Osborne, Michael Gove, John Whittingdale, Nicky Morgan and Oliver Letwin have all been relieved. Liz Truss is the new Justice Secretary, Justine Greening has been given Education and Tory leadership contender Andrea Leadsom has been made the Environment Secretary. Boris Johnson is the new Foreign Secretary. Philip Hammond has been made Chancellor. David Davis, who is known to be a Eurosceptic, has taken charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union, in a newly created post of Brexit Secretary. In another newly created, Liam Fox was appointed as the new International Trade Secretary. Amber Rudd took over Mrs May’s former role as home secretary.
The time is changing. The context is transforming. The challenge is growing. It is definitely too soon to make a judgement. The situation is too new to draw a conclusion. But, we can’t stop opinions from coming to the mind, right? Tell us what you think of the new face of UK in the comments section below.