Incoming prime minister Theresa May is a tough, hard-working pragmatist who now has the task of uncoupling Britain from the European Union, and of uniting her country and her party.
May took over Wednesday as Britain’s second female prime minister after fellow Conservative Margaret Thatcher, succeeding David Cameron after he resigned in the wake of the shock vote for Brexit on June 23.
The 59-year-old, who has been Cameron’s interior minister for the past six years, had officially backed her boss’s campaign to stay in the EU. But she kept a low profile, emerging relatively unscathed after the vote and presenting herself as the leader who could unify a nation deeply split by the referendum.
She insists “Brexit means Brexit” but has promised to work for the best deal for Britain outside the bloc. In an unguarded moment, senior Conservative Ken Clarke labelled her a “bloody difficult woman”—a description that May has embraced.
May became a Conservative lawmaker in 1997, holding the post of party chairman before entering the cabinet after the Conservatives won the 2010 general election. -AFP