Theresa May is a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019.
May served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016 and has been the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead since 1997.
- Full name: Theresa Mary May
- Born: 1 October 1956, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK
- Height: 1.72 m
- Spouse: Philip May (m. 1980)
- Party: Conservative Party
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About Theresa May
May was born on 1 October 1956 in Eastbourne, Sussex, UK. May is the only child of Zaidee Mary and Hubert Brasier.
Her father was a Church of England clergyman (and an Anglo-Catholic) who was chaplain of an Eastbourne hospital. He later became vicar of Enstone with Heythrop and finally of St Mary’s at Wheatley, to the east of Oxford.
May’s mother was a supporter of the Conservative Party. Her father died in 1981, from injuries sustained in a car accident, and her mother of multiple sclerosis the following year.
May later stated she was “sorry they [her parents] never saw me elected as a Member of Parliament”.
May initially attended Heythrop Primary School, a state school in Heythrop, followed by St. Juliana’s Convent School for Girls, a Roman Catholic independent school in Begbroke, which closed in 1984.
At the age of 13, she won a place at the former Holton Park Girls’ Grammar School, a state school in Wheatley. During her time as a pupil, the Oxfordshire education system was reorganised, and the school became the new Wheatley Park Comprehensive School.
May attended the University of Oxford, read geography at St Hugh’s College, and graduated with a second-class BA degree in 1977.
She worked at a bakery on Saturdays to earn pocket money and was a “tall, fashion-conscious young woman who from an early age spoke of her ambition to be the first woman prime minister,” according to those who knew her.
According to a university friend, Pat Frankland: “I cannot remember a time when she did not have political ambitions. I well remember, at the time, she was quite irritated when Margaret Thatcher got there first.”
May grew up in Oxfordshire and attended St Hugh’s College, Oxford. After graduating in 1977, she worked at the Bank of England and the Association for Payment Clearing Services. She also served as a councillor for Durnsford in Merton.
After two unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the House of Commons, she was elected as the MP for Maidenhead in 1997.
From 1999 to 2010, May held several roles in shadow cabinets. She was also chairwoman of the Conservative Party from 2002 to 2003.
Following the formation of the coalition government after the 2010 general election, May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, but gave up the latter role in 2012.
Reappointed after the Conservative success in the 2015 general election, she became the longest-serving Home Secretary in over 60 years.
During her tenure she pursued reform of the Police Federation, implemented a harder line on drugs policy including the banning of khat, oversaw the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners, the deportation of Abu Qatada, the creation of the National Crime Agency, and brought in additional restrictions on immigration.
After David Cameron resigned, May was elected Conservative Party leader and became the UK’s second female prime minister.
She began the process of withdrawing the UK from the European Union, triggering Article 50 in March 2017.
The following month, she announced a snap general election, with the aims of strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations and highlighting her “strong and stable” leadership.
This resulted in a hung parliament in which the number of Conservative seats had fallen from 330 to 317, despite the party winning its highest vote share since 1983.
The loss of an overall majority prompted her to enter a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support a minority government.
May survived a vote of no confidence from Conservative MPs in December 2018 and a Parliamentary vote of no confidence in January 2019.
She carried out the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, adhering to the Chequers Agreement, which resulted in the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
After versions of this agreement were rejected by Parliament three times, she resigned and was succeeded by Boris Johnson. She remains in the House of Commons as a backbencher.