Theresa Mary May, PC, MP (née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since July 2016. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead since 1997. May identifies as a one-nation conservative and has been characterised as a liberal conservative. She is the second female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party after Margaret Thatcher.
The daughter of a vicar, May grew up in Oxfordshire. From 1977 until 1983, she worked for the Bank of England, and from 1985 until 1997 at the Association for Payment Clearing Services, also serving as a councillor for Durnsford in Merton. After unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the House of Commons in 1992 and 1994, she was elected as the MP for Maidenhead in the 1997 general election. From 1999 to 2010, May held a number of roles in the Shadow Cabinets of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron, including Shadow Transport Secretary and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. She was also Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2002 to 2003.
After the formation of a coalition government following 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 victory in the 2015 general election, she went on to become the longest-serving Home Secretary since James Chuter Ede over 60 years previously. During her tenure she pursued reform of the Police Federation, implemented a harder line on drugs policy including the banning of khat, oversaw the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners, the deportation of Abu Qatada, the creation of the National Crime Agency and brought in additional restrictions on immigration.
Following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron on 24 June 2016, May announced her candidacy for the leadership of the Conservative Party and quickly emerged as the front-runner. She won the first ballot of Conservative MPs on 5 July by a significant margin, and two days later won the votes of 199 MPs, going forward to face a vote of Conservative Party members in a contest with Andrea Leadsom. Leadsom's withdrawal from the election on 11 July led to May's appointment as leader the same day. She was appointed Prime Minister two days later, the second woman to hold both offices. On becoming Prime Minister, May became the first woman to have held two of the Great Offices of State.