Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to replace British Prime Minister David Cameron after the only other remaining Conservative candidate, Andrea Leadsom, withdrew on Monday. Theresa May will be the UK’s first woman Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher.
The New York Times reports that Leadsom, the energy minister who loudly supported the Brexit, dropped out of the race on Monday following widespread criticism over the weekend for implying that May was less qualified to run the country because she doesn’t have children. (She later claimed she was taken out of context and demanded a retraction, and apologized to May for “any hurt I have caused.” The Times of London released a transcript and audio recording of the relevant section of the interview, and told BuzzFeed News that the paper stands by the story.) Leadsom was also accused of exaggerating her resume, and has invited comparisons to Sarah Palin.
Theresa May quietly supported the Remain campaign but has since asserted that “Brexit means Brexit” and that she will make no attempt to stay in the EU. May is widely regarded as more conservative than David Cameron, who, as we can fondly recall, once referred to refugees as a “swarm.” May is militantly anti-immigration, and as Home Secretary has implemented a number of harmful policies, including one that deports immigrants if they fail to make over £35,000 after 5 years in the UK. She has also been described as “the most boring woman in Britain.”
May, 59, voted in favor of repealing the Human Rights Act; she also voted in favor of the war in Iraq. A few months ago, she spoke out in favor of the leaving the European Convention of Human Rights, sparking criticism within her own party. She voted in favor of gay marriage, although she has a mixed record, and has indicated a move towards a more inclusive economic policy; she gave a speech on Monday decrying the “unhealthy and growing gap” between “bosses” and “workers.”
According to Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat who served under her in the Home Office during the coalition government, Ms. May is politically “not very liberal” and personally “hard as nails,” with a willingness to stand up even to the prime minister on policy issues. “You don’t survive as home secretary for six years without some form of aptitude,” Mr. Baker said.
“I don’t want to sound too positive, because I wouldn’t want her as prime minister,” he added, “but I would rather have her than the rest of those that are standing, because at least she is competent.”
David Cameron was initially expected to stay on through September, but the Telegraph reports that May will be named Prime Minister as early as this week—first, however, Cameron has to resign to the Queen.
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