Theresa May becomes Britain's second female PM

Theresa May becomes Britain’s second female PM


Theresa May, a Conservative politician, has become Britain’s second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher.
May, 59, accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday to form a new government minutes after David Cameron, the outgoing prime minister, made his resignation official.
She is expected to begin announcing details of her cabinet later on Wednesday.
“The government I’ll lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours,” said May, as she arrived at 10 Downing Street from Buckingham Palace. Her speech was focused on inclusion, as she promised to fight against “burning injustice”, citing the difficulties of young white working-class men in getting a place at university, black Britons when they need to use the criminal justice system, women in the workplace, mental health patients and young people who hope to own their own homes.
David Cameron’s “true legacy is not about the economy but about social justice”, she said. “In that spirit, I also plan to lead.”
Her appointment comes after weeks of turmoil in British politics following a referendum in which millions – going against her advice and that of Cameron – voted to leave the European Union.
Until Wednesday, May was the Home Secretary.
Having failed to convince Britons to vote to remain in the EU, Cameron resigned, opening the way for a brief leadership contest.
New Cabinet expected
Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips, reporting from London, said that May was disadvantaged because she did not have much time to form her cabinet.
“The process has been truncated,” our correspondent said.
Now that she is prime minister, May will learn the details of Britain’s nuclear deterrent and receive phone calls from fellow world leaders.
“Those phone calls from [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Francois] Hollande will be very interesting in context of the looming Brexit – a British exit from the EU.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged May to swiftly engage divorce talks with the EU.
The outcome of the UK vote “has created a new situation which the United Kingdom and the European Union will have to address soon,” Juncker said in a letter to May published on his Twitter account.
“I wish you every success in the task ahead,” he added.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz also piled on the pressure as he congratulated May.
The White House was quick to congratulate May and said it was confident in her ability to steer Britain through negotiations on leaving the European Union.
“Based on the public comments we’ve seen from the incoming prime minister, she intends to pursue a course that’s consistent with the course that President Obama has offered,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news briefing.
Earlier, at Prime Minister’s Questions – a weekly session, Cameron said May was “a brilliant negotiator”.
His advice to her was “to be as close to the European Union as we can be for the benefits of trade, cooperation and security … The Channel will not get any wider once we leave the European Union, and that is the relationship we should seek.” – Al-Jazeera


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