London, July 12 (IANS) Theresa May, who will be formally confirmed as Britain’s 76th Prime Minister on Wednesday, is the daughter of a Church of England vicar and has been often compared with Margaret Thatcher.
Even before entering Downing Street, May, now 59, made history by becoming the longest serving Home Secretary in more than 100 years.
No wonder, she won substantial support from her Conservative party in the leadership race, polling 199 votes to her rival and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom’s 84.
On Monday, Leadsom withdrew from the contest.
Holding the post of Home Secretary since 2010 and an MP for Maidenhead from 1997, May became famous in early years in politics for her exuberant choice of footwear.
Her vicar father died following a car crash when she was only 25. May’s middle class background is said to be more in keeping with the last female occupant of Downing Street, Margaret Thatcher (1979-90).
May went to Oxford University for studies. There, she met her husband Philip, a president of the Oxford Union, in 1976.
Media reports say they were introduced at a Conservative disco by Benazir Bhutto, another student who would later go on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
May and Philip married in 1980.
She will be the oldest leader to enter Downing Street since James Callaghan in 1976 and will be the first Prime Minister since Ted Heath who does not have children.
May, who has become a role model for aspiring female MPs, told prospective candidates before the 2015 election: “There is always a seat out there with your name on it.”
In politics, her stand on social issues gained her more prominence. She backed same sex marriage, said in 2012 that the legal limit on abortion should be lowered from 24 to 20 weeks and, along with most Conservative MPs, voted against an outright ban on fox hunting.
And with a strong personality, she firmly ruled out bringing forward the day of the next election, set for May 2020.
May has pledged to forge a new role for Britain outside the European Union. She is expected to appoint her Cabinet on Thursday.
One of the biggest problems she faces is the new trade arrangements her government will have to strike up with the European Union and with other countries.
One of her first major decisions be to invoke Article 50 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty to set in motion the process of the country’s exit from the EU.