Theresa Mary May (born 1 October 1956) is a British politician serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2016. She served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016. May was first elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead in 1997. Ideologically, she identifies herself as a one-nation conservative.
May grew up in Oxfordshire and attended St Hugh’s College, Oxford. From 1977 until 1983, she worked for the Bank of England, and from 1985 until 1997 at the Association for Payment Clearing Services, also serving as a councillor for Durnsford in Merton. After unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the House of Commons in 1992 and 1994, she was elected as the MP for Maidenhead in the 1997 general election. From 1999 to 2010, May held a number of roles in the Shadow Cabinets of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard, and David Cameron, including Shadow Transport Secretary and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. She was also Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2002 to 2003.
After the formation of a coalition government following the 2010 general election, May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, giving up the latter role in 2012. Reappointed after the Conservative victory in the 2015 general election, she went on to become 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.
Following Cameron’s resignation, May won a leadership election in July 2016, becoming the second female Prime Minister, following Margaret Thatcher. As Prime Minister, May began the process of withdrawing the UK from the European Union, triggering Article 50 in March 2017 then, the following month, announcing a snap general election in June, with the aim of strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations. This resulted in a hung parliament, in which the number of Conservative seats fell from 330 to 317, despite the party winning their highest vote share since 1983, prompting her to broker a confidence and supply deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support a minority government. May is currently orchestrating the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, adhering to the Chequers Agreement, agreed in 2018.
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