Will the United Kingdom soon have its second female Prime Minister, after Margaret Thatcher? That’s the big question hanging in the London air following another crazy political week that has seen hot Prime Minister favorite Boris Johnson quit the race.
The new contender for the title Theresa May, 59, Member of Parliament for the sleepy rural constituency of Maidenhead in Royal Berkshire – and just about the toughest, most no-nonsense politician in Britain.
Before she becomes Prime Minister of the U.K., however, the 19-year political veteran first has to win a majority of support from the 150,000 Conservative Party members dotted across Britain. Unlike in the United States, the British elect a political party – rather than an individual – into power. So whoever becomes leader of Conservative Party automatically inherits David Cameron’s seat at No. 10.
If all goes to plan (an unlikely prospect in Britain right now), then by Sept. 9, May – who lives in the same Berkshire village as George and Amal Clooney – could be in charge of the U.K. by the end of the summer.
But just who is Theresa May? And is she likely to be as hard-nosed and cozy with the U.S. as Britain’s first female PM, Margaret Thatcher?
To help you find out, here are seven things you need to know about the new favorite to lead Britain to the Brexit door.
- She’s Diabetic
In July 2013, May revealed that she had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “It was a real shock and, yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it,” she told journalists. “Despite the health risks, she vowed to continue and now carries a needle with her at all times for her twice daily injections.” The diabetes doesn’t affect how I do the job or what I do. It’s just part of life … so it’s a case of head down and getting on with it,” she said.
“There’s a great quote from Steve Redgrave who was diagnosed with diabetes before he won his last Olympic gold medal. He said diabetes must learn to live with me rather than me live with diabetes. That’s the attitude.”
- She’s Married
May has been married to banker husband Philip May since September 1980. The couple first met at an Oxford University disco when they were introduced by future Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto, who was tragically assassinated in 2007. In typical English romantic style, May and her future husband first bonded over a shared love of cricket.
- She Is Stylish
Theresa has become known for her eccentric fashion sense, often wearing fun shoes similar to the leopard print heels she wore during a speech in 2002. But don’t let her loud outfits fool you — she herself admits her political ways are not “showy.”
- She’s Tough
May is the longest serving Home Secretary for over a century, and has had responsibility for policing, immigration, the security services and national security since May 2010. This has seen her go toe-to-toe with the powerful U.K. Police Federation, the European Court of Human Rights and most of her own Cabinet colleagues. In 2013 she even flew to Jordan to personally negotiate a deal to extradite Islamic fundamentalist imam Abu Hamza. She also once got so frustrated with a No. 10 civil servant that she grabbed him by his jacket lapels and threw him out of her office!
- She Has Wild Taste in Heels!
Not many people have met the Queen wearing patent leather, leopard-print over-the-knee boots, but that’s exactly what May did in March 2015. At other times she’s also donned rainbow-striped flats, leopard-print kitten heels, gold hologram wellies and Indian silk heels. In fact, she’s so famous for her shoes that in Feb 2015 a mystery bidder paid £17,500 ($23,000) to go shoe shopping with her at a fundraising dinner.
ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S7 Fails Water Test
- She’s 100 percent confident she’ll do a great job as Prime Minister.
Theresa apparently didn’t even need Andrea’s kind words to know that she’ll be a fabulous leader. When announcing her leadership bid on June 30, Theresa said, “My pitch is simple — I’m Theresa May and I think I’m the best person to lead this country.”
- She will assume leadership at a time of massive uncertainty for Britain.
Unifying Britain is unlikely to be easy. During the lead-up to the Brexit vote, fierce debates were waged over bureaucracy, national sovereignty, immigration and austerity. The referendum result sent the pound to a 31-year-low and markets pummeling. Moreover, analysts are concerned that the political consequences of the referendum could extend to the rest of Europe. May will oversee this time of apprehension and must lead Britain as it navigates its departure from the EU.
Will she be suitable for the new role as Prime Minister of Britain or Britain needs someone more experienced than her? let us know what you think on this in the comment box.