Theresa May

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Theresa May

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Theresa Mary, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956), is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She previously served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016. She has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead since 1997. May is the second female UK prime minister, after Margaret Thatcher, and the first woman to hold two of the Great Offices of State. Ideologically, May is a one-nation conservative.May grew up in Oxfordshire and attended St Hugh's College, Oxford. After graduating in 1977, she worked at the Bank of England and the Association for Payment Clearing Services. She also served as a councillor for Durnsford in Merton. After two unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the House of Commons, she was elected as the MP for Maidenhead at the 1997 general election. From 1999 to 2010, May held several roles in shadow cabinets. She was Chair of the Conservative Party from July 2002 to November 2003. Following the formation of the coalition government after 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 success at the 2015 general election, she became 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 banning khat, and further restricted immigration. She oversaw the introduction of elected police and crime commissioners, the deportation of Abu Qatada and the creation of the College of Policing and the National Crime Agency.May supported the unsuccessful Britain Stronger in Europe campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union (EU). She stood in the Conservative Party leadership election to succeed Cameron, who resigned on the outcome of the 2016 referendum; she was elected and appointed prime minister after Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest. She began the process of withdrawing the UK from the EU, triggering Article 50 in March 2017. In April she announced a snap general election, with the aims of strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations and highlighting her "strong and stable" leadership. This resulted in a hung parliament with the number of Conservative seats reduced to 317 (from 330), despite the highest vote share since 1983 and the largest increase in electoral support enjoyed by a governing party since 1832. The loss of an overall majority prompted her to enter a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland to support a minority government. Following the 2017 election, May's premiership continued to be dominated by Brexit, in particular by her government's negotiations with the EU, adhering to the Chequers plan, which led to a draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. May survived two votes of no confidence in December 2018 and January 2019, but after versions of her draft withdrawal agreement were rejected by Parliament three times and her party's poor performance in the local and European elections in May 2019, she announced her resignation later that month. She left office on 24 July and was succeeded by Boris Johnson, her former foreign secretary. May remains in the House of Commons as a backbencher. Other events that occurred during May's premiership included terrorist attacks in Westminster, the Manchester Arena and London Bridge, the Grenfell Tower fire and the Windrush scandal. Her government also announced a £20 billion increase in funding to the National Health Service, established the first Race Disparity Audit, presided over the lowest unemployment rate since 1975, launched a 25 Year Environment Plan, amending the Climate Change Act 2008 to end the UK's contribution to global warming by 2050, passed legislation to mitigate knife crime and give additional powers to law enforcement and intelligence services to combat terrorism, published the 2017 Industrial Strategy White Paper and signed an immigration treaty with France to stem illegal border crossings in January 2018. Although May did not succeed in getting much of her Brexit legislation through Parliament, her government was nevertheless responsible for passing the Great Repeal Act 2018 and for negotiating and approving the near-entirety of the UK's terms of exit from the EU. As prime minister, May was also a prominent figure in leading the international condemnation and response to Russia over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March 2018.