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12 things you need to know about Britain's new woman PM

By Compiled by The Rediff News Bureau
Last updated on: July 13, 2016 23:05 IST
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Theresa May, Britain's former home secretary, became the new prime minister on Wednesday, minutes after David Cameron resigned in the wake of the European Union referendum result.

As she claims the keys of 10 Downing Street and becomes the second female PM after Margaret Thatcher, here is a look at May's background, career and personal life.


  • Born Theresa Brasier in Eastbourne in 1956, she studied geography at OxfordUniversity before working at the Bank of England until the mid-1980s. She then became a financial consultant for the Association for Payment Clearing Services – while serving as a Tory councillor -- before finally getting elected as MP for Maidenhead in 1997
  • May was introduced to her future husband, Philip May, at a Tory student disco by their mutual friend Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007 after serving two terms as Pakistan's PM
  • May was appointed home secretary in May 2010 when Cameron took office -- and has lasted more than six years in the role before her ascension to No 10. Despite the position being regarded as one of trickiest jobs in cabinet, she is the longest serving home secretary since Labour's James Ede had the job between 1945 and 1951
'My pitch is simple -- I'm Theresa May and I think I'm the best person to lead this country.'
  • She became one of the first high-profile Conservative MPs to pledge personal support for same-sex marriage. In 2012, she recorded a video for the Out4Marriage Campaign
  • May is not a fan of the limelight and likes to keep her private life firmly private. Journalists struggle to get any information out of her at off-the-record lunches and drinks. "I know I'm not a showy politician," she said, announcing her leadership bid in June. "I don't tour the television studios. I don't gossip about people over lunch. I don't go drinking in parliament's bars. I don't often wear my heart on my sleeve. I just get on with the job in front of me."
  • May revealed in 2013 she had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and injects herself with insulin twice a day

  • May is a big lover of shoes and this love hasn't gone unnoticed. Her choice of black, patent-leather over-the-knee boots to greet the Queen was much remarked upon
  • May backed David Cameron in calling for Britain to stay in the EU – but stayed very quiet during the campaign. While launching her national campaign, however, May said that she would respect the result of the referendum, saying: “Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it.”
  • May is often compared to German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they are both daughters of clergymen and also share a love for alpine hiking
  • May describes cooking and walking as primary hobbies. In fact, in an interview to BBC, she said she owned at least a 100 recipe books
  • During her time in office, she has repeatedly expressed vociferous opposition to the UK's historically high immigration levels. "When immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it's impossible to build a cohesive society,” she said in one 2015 speech. “It's difficult for schools and hospitals and core infrastructure like housing and transport to cope. And we know that for people in low-paid jobs, wages are forced down even further while some people are forced out of work altogether."
  • May is unequivocally feminist and the former president of Women2Win -- the campaign to encourage more women to stand as Tory parliamentary candidates
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Compiled by The Rediff News Bureau
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