Theresa May

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We need a bold, new, positive vision for the future of our country – a vision of a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.

Theresa Mary May (born 1 October 1956) is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since July 2016. Identifying as a One-Nation Conservative and characterised as a liberal conservative, she has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead since 1997. May replaced David Cameron as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 13 July 2016 after his formal resignation to the Queen, becoming the second female prime minister, following Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Quotes[edit]

  • As we see the threat changing, evolving becoming a more complex threat, we need to make sure that our police and security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need. I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terrorist suspects back to their own countries. And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court. And if our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it.

Maiden speech to Parliament (02 June 1997)[edit]

  • On the morning when I moved into my new office, when the telephone rang for the first time I eagerly picked up the receiver to find out who the caller could be, only to discover that the person on the other end of the line wanted to speak to Edwina Currie.
  • This is the first time that Maidenhead has had its own Member of Parliament. In view of the potential origin of the town's name in the symbol of the maiden's head, it is perhaps appropriate that it should now be represented by a maiden—although I must confess to using the term somewhat loosely.
  • I hope that we all agree that the aim is to provide the right education for every child. For some children, that will be an education that is firmly based in learning practical and vocational skills. For others, it will be an education based on academic excellence.

Speech to the Conservative Party conference (07 October 2002)[edit]

  • Politics is about public service. Everything we do - in parliament, in our constituencies, here in Bournemouth - should be motivated by one goal. Improving the lives of our fellow citizens.
  • Politicians are seen as untrustworthy and hypocritical. We talk a different language. We live in a different world. We seem to be scoring points, playing games and seeking personal advantage - while home-owners struggle to make ends meet and schoolchildren see years of hard work undermined by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen.
  • In recent years a number of politicians have behaved disgracefully and then compounded their offences by trying to evade responsibility. We all know who they are. Let's face it, some of them have stood on this platform.
  • More people vote for a TV show than a political party. And those who do vote think a man dressed as a monkey is more likely to deliver on his election pledges than any party.
  • One of the things that people hate most about modern politics is the almost mindless partisanship that passes for debate. Ya-boo, Punch and Judy, call it what you will, the public is sick of it.
  • They [the Labour government at the time] planned to let bureaucrats snoop on peoples' phone and email conversations. We helped to stop that.
  • The Labour party is intent on turning law-abiding and decent citizens into criminals by banning hunting - and we marched to stop that.
  • George Bush and Tony Blair deserve the gratitude of everyone for standing up to the forces of evil. And they deserve our thanks as well for the action they are taking to disarm Saddam Hussein.
  • How can students and parents plan for the future when they can't rely on the country's examination system to deliver fair results? We reject Labour's "government knows best" approach, but we certainly don't subscribe to a philosophy that lets people sink or swim. We believe that an active government should focus on doing what it can to help people get on with their lives.This is the true measure of a compassionate government.
  • Some Tories have tried to make political capital by demonising minorities instead of showing confidence in all the citizens of our country.
  • There's a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies. You know what some people call us - the nasty party.
  • I want us to be the party that represents the whole of Britain and not merely some mythical place called "Middle England", but the truth is that as our country has become more diverse, our party has remained the same. We should not underestimate the extent of this problem. Ask yourselves: how can we truly claim to be the party of Britain, when we don't truly represent Britain in our party?

Speech as Home Secretary on the UK and European Union (25 April 2016)[edit]

  • In a stand-off between Britain and the EU, 44% of our exports is more important to us than 8% of the EU's exports is to them.
  • The reality is that we do not know on what terms we would have access to the single market. We do know that in a negotiation we would need to make concessions in order to access it, and those concessions could well be about accepting EU regulations, over which we would have no say, making financial contributions, just as we do now, accepting free movement rules, just as we do now, or quite possibly all three combined.
  • It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.
  • I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union.

Speech declaring bid for the Conservative Party leadership (30 June 2016)[edit]

  • We need a bold, new, positive vision for the future of our country – a vision of a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.
  • The country needs strong leadership and a clear sense of direction, to give confidence to investors, to keep the economy moving, and to keep people in work.
  • Brexit means Brexit. The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high, and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door, and no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union, and it is the duty of the Government and of Parliament to make sure we do just that.
  • There should be no general election until 2020. There should be a normal Autumn Statement, held in the normal way at the normal time, and no emergency Budget.
  • I will... create a new government department responsible for conducting Britain’s negotiation with the EU and for supporting the rest of Whitehall in its European work. That department will be led by a senior Secretary of State – and I will make sure that the position is taken by a Member of Parliament who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU.
  • It will not be possible to do what is right for Britain, to get the best deal we can for our country, unless we are united as a Party and as a Government. That is why I believe so strongly that there needs to be a proper contest with a leader elected by the whole Party with a proper mandate – and no coronation brought about by back-room deals.
  • The country has spoken, and the United Kingdom will leave the EU. The job now is about uniting the Party, uniting the country – securing the Union – and negotiating the best possible deal for Britain.
  • If you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you still earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s too often not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home. These are all burning injustices, and – as I did with the misuse of stop and search and deaths in police custody and modern slavery – I am determined to fight against them.
  • Some need to be told that what the Government does isn’t a game, it’s a serious business that has real consequences for people’s lives.
  • We, the Conservatives, will put ourselves at the service of ordinary, working people and we will strive to make Britain a country that works for everyone – regardless of who they are and regardless of where they’re from.
  • You can judge me by my record.
  • We have a mission to make Britain a country that works not for the privileged and not for the few but for every one of our citizens.

Speech at the Conservative Party Conference (October 2016)[edit]

  • If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere

Speech after the London Bridge attack (4 June 2017)[edit]

Speech made on Downing Street after the June 2017 London Bridge attack (June 4, 2017). Transcript online
  • Terrorism breeds terrorism.
  • While the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth. Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, but it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone. It will not be defeated by the maintenance of a permanent defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners. It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values – pluralistic British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.
  • We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.
  • While we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online, we must not forget about the safe spaces that continue to exist in the real world. Yes, that means taking military action to destroy Isis in Iraq and Syria. But it also means taking action here at home. While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations. But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.
  • Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.

Q&A with factory workers in Gateshead, 2018[edit]

  • I enjoy cooking, which has a benefit, you get to eat it as well as make it.

On climate change marches[edit]

  • it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teacher's workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.

On Brexit[edit]

  • You know we, he and I are all members of the Conservative and Unionist Party. That's because we believe in the union of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is part of that union. And we have a guarantee for the people of Northern Ireland and we are upholding that. Our Chequers plan does that it's the only plan on the table at the moment that does.
  • It is good to see that we agree that the UK should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum.

On leaving the role of Prime Minister[edit]

  • I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.

On Boris Johnson[edit]

Quotes about May[edit]

Theresa is a bloody difficult woman. ~ Kenneth Clarke
  • She would frequently clash with George Osborne over immigration. She rarely got on anything but badly with Michael Gove. She and Cameron seemed to view each other with mutual suspicion.
    • David Laws, 22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition, 2010
  • I cannot remember a time when she did not have political ambitions. I well remember, at the time, that she did want to become the first woman prime minister and she was quite irritated when Margaret Thatcher got there first.
  • Theresa is a bloody difficult woman. ... She’s too narrow on her department ... She’s been at the Home Office far too long, so I only know in detail what her views are on the Home Office. She doesn’t know much about foreign affairs.
  • May believes in justice, but not in social justice; in individual enterprise, but not in uniting communities.
  • I respect her style – it is steady and serious. She is authoritative in parliament – superficial attacks on her bounce off. When the Tory establishment call her “a bloody difficult woman” she rightly wears it as a badge of pride.
  • She hides when things go wrong. No interviews, no quotes, nothing to reassure people or to remind people she even exists. 
  • As for May, her clinical standoffishness is entirely of a piece with the way she has behaved for the best part of the two and a half years since the vote, and certainly since the 2017 election. One of the most remarkable, and indeed excruciating, things about May has been her insistence on governing like she's got a landslide majority. Why has no one told her? She's the Florence Foster Jenkins of politics, insulated from the realities of her situation by weird or venal enablers.
  • Theresa May is the sole architect of this mess. It is her inability to engage in the most basic human interactions that brought us here. Cabinet has totally broken down. Ministers say their bit, she gives nothing away, one side thinks X will happen, the other side think Y will happen, and the Prime Minister decides on Z.
  • [On why Theresa May brought back her deal to be voted on in Parliament for a third time] Fuck knows, I'm past caring, it's like the living dead in here.

External links[edit]

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