As important events happened in May’s life. In 1980

As one of only two
female Prime Ministers in the history of the United Kingdoms, Theresa May has
taken office at a time where the future of UK is in flux. She has the
unenviable position of negotiating on behalf of the UK as it attempts to
withdraw from the European Union. Regardless of the outcome of this momentous
task, Theresa May will go down in history for her actions during her time in
office; however, only the future can tell us whether she will be famous or
infamous.

            Before becoming Prime Minister,
indeed before she was even named Theresa May, she was born in Eastbourne,
Sussex on October 1, 1956 as the only child of Zaidee, a staunch conservative,
and Huber Brasier, the vicar of Enstone, Heythrop, and St. Mary’s at Wheatley.
Growing up, May attended state schools for the most part; however, oddly enough
she did attend a Roman Catholic independent school in Begbroke for a short
time. At the age of 13, May won a spot at Holton Park Girls’ Grammar School,
now called Wheatley Park Comprehensive School, from which she went on to attend
the University of Oxford. At Oxford she studied geography at St. Hugh’s College
and graduated with a BA in 1977. After leaving Oxford, May went to work for the
Bank of England from 1977-1983. During her time at the Bank of England, quite a
few important events happened in May’s life. In 1980 she married her husband
Philip May; unfortunately, in 1981 her father died in a car accident and was
followed by her mother the following year due to multiple sclerosis. After
leaving the Bank of England in 1983, she became the head of European Affairs
Unit of the Association for Payment Clearing Services, APCS, until 1997. It was
during this time that her political career began. While she was working for the
APCS, she was also elected to the local council of Merton, south London, in
1986 as the Chairman of Education and then Deputy Group Leader in 1992. While
serving in this role, she also ran for the North West Durham seat against the
incumbent Hilary Armstrong in the 1992 general election and came in second. She
tried again in the 1994 by-election in Barking, east London, after the death of
the Labour MP holding the seat. The seat had been held by Labour since its
creation in 1945 and the polls predicted it would remain that way for the
foreseeable future. May came in third in the election with fewer than 2,000
votes. It wasn’t until May was selected as the Conservative candidate for
Maidenhead, a new seat, before the 1997 general election. In this election she
received almost twice the votes of the second-place candidate and officially
became a member of Parliament.

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            May’s career in the Parliament took
off almost immediately. Only after 2 years of being a member of Parliament, she
was appointed as the Shadow Spokesman for Schools, Disabled People, and Women
and was a member of William Hague’s front bench opposition team. Two years
later in 2001 she moved to the Transport portfolio in Iain Duncan Smith’s
shadow cabinet, and in July of 2002 she became the Conservative party’s first
female chairman under Iain Smith. In 2003 she was appointed the Shadow
Secretary of State for Transport. In June 2004 she became the Shadow Secretary
of State for the Family, and after only a year she was also made the Shadow
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport after the 2005 general
election. Later that year David Cameron appointed her the Shadow Leader of the
House of Commons after he became the party leader. In January of 2009, May was
appointed the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. All of these
positions in the Shadow Cabinet provided her with valuable experience to
prepare her for her next appointment after the 2010 general election.

            In the 2010 general election, Labour
lost their majority in the House of Commons to the Conservative party under
David Cameron. In a surprising appointment, May was made the new Home Secretary
by Cameron instead of former Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling. Right out
of the gate, May began her tenure as Home Secretary by overturning many of the
previous Labour government’s policies surrounding data collection and
surveillance in the UK. One of the more notable bills she brought to fruition
was the Identity Documents Act of 2010, which repealed the Identity Cards Act
of 2006. The repealed legislation created national identity cards, a personal
identification and European Union travel document, that was linked to the now
destroyed National Identity Register. It could hold up to 50 different
categories of information on the holders and it was a requirement for new
applicants for UK passports. The new Identity Documents Act not only repealed
the Identity Cards Act of 2006 but also required the destruction of all
information contained within the National Identity Register. In addition to
this she also worked to have the Protection of Freedoms Act passed in 2012,
which reforms quite a lot of things pertaining to individual freedoms,
particularly concerning interference from the public-sector. Upon its introduction
in 2011, the bill was harshly criticized as being “piecemeal, incoherent, and
too focused on protection from public-sector intrusion without sufficient focus
on private-sector intrusion”; however, the bill completed its passage through
Parliament and received the Queen’s signature of Royal Assent. In June of 2010,
May was faced with not only her first major national security incident as the
Home Secretary, but also one of the deadliest shootings in British history. On
June 2, 2010 a lone gunman killed 12 and injured 11 others before taking his
own life in Cumbria. It was on this subject that May delivered her first major
speech to the House of Commons as the Home Secretary and later visited the
victims along with Prime Minister Cameron. Another incident that occurred in
June of 2010 was May’s banning of the Radical Islamic Indian preacher Zakir
Naik, who is also banned from entering Canada, India, and Bangladesh, from
entering the UK. May took a very firm stance on the issue and, according to The Telegraph, a Home Office official
who disagreed with the decision was suspended. In July of the same year, May
attempted to pass a “package” of reforms to policing policy in England and
Wales. The reforms would replace the previous government’s central crime agency,
the Serious Organised Crime Agency, with a new National Crime Agency; however,
these reforms were rejected by the Opposition. In a similar fashion to her
proposed reforms for the central crime agency, May also wanted to review the
legislation on the previous government’s policies on anti-social behaviour,
while also signaling the abolition of the “Anti-Social Behaviour Order”. She
cited the policy’s high failure rate in order to justify her decision. Her
proposals were met with disapproval by both David Blunkett, former Labour Home
Secretary, and Alan Johnson.

            As a conservative in today’s
political climate, immigration as well as its converse, deportation, are very
important issues. May has taken a pretty harsh stance on immigration as a whole
with some very notable incidents. In May of 2010 Theresa May promised to bring
down the level of migration to less than 100,000, and has been everything but
successful in this regard as numbers have continued to rise. Around the same
time, May also rejected the European Union’s proposal of compulsory refugee
quotas stating, “that it was important to help people living in war-zone
regions and refugee camps, but no the ones who are strong and rich enough to
come to Europe”. Following this line of thought, May announced in June of 2012 new
restrictions and proposals on numerous topics within immigration, such as new
restrictions affecting UK citizens wanting to bring their spouses and/or
children to live with them in the UK. In addition to this they also increased
the current probationary period of two years up to five. This new set of rules
also prevented adult and elderly dependents from settling in the UK unless they
could demonstrate that, due to age, illness, or disability, they required
long-term personal care that could only be provided by a relative in the UK.
These restrictions have been criticized by groups such as the human rights
group Liberty and questioned by the House of Lords; however, the most damning
could be the inquiry conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on
Migration that concluded that these rules can and are causing very young
children to be separated from their parents and could possibly exile citizens
of the UK. Speaking of exile, May has had quite a few faux pas in regards to
deportation, one of which centers around an example she gave at the
Conservative Party Conference In October of 2011 where she argued that the
Human Rights Act needed to be amended. The example was of a foreign national
that was allowed to stay in the UK, according to May, “because, and I am not
making this up, he had a pet cat”, to which the Royal Courts responded by
denying the allegation and stating the real reason for allowing the individual
to stay was due to the fact that he was in a genuine relationship with a UK
citizen. She was further criticized by Amnesty International, who said that her
comments fueled “myths and misconceptions” and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke
called May’s comments “laughable and childlike”. Another issue May has
encountered in respect to deportation was a ruling by Judge Barry Cotter that
found her in contempt of court. This occurred in June of 2012 when May
disregarded a legal agreement to free an Algerian citizen from a UK Immigration
Detention Centre. Although May eventually allowed the prisoner to be freed and
avoided fines or imprisonment, she was accused of “totally unacceptable and
regrettable behaviour”. Perhaps one of the more visible transgression the Home
Office engaged in under May in regards to deportation were the “Go Home”
advertisements. These were featured on lorries and told illegal immigrants to
“go home or face arrest”. They showed an individual in handcuffs and claimed
that there had been 106 arrests in the area the previous week. The
advertisements were shown in 6 London boroughs that had high ethnic minority
populations. The advertisements were soon banned by the Advertising Standards
Authority, and the claims of arrests were discredited as misleading and
unsubstantiated. May was removed from her position as Home Secretary on the 13th
of July 2016 by her party.

            May was removed in order to become
the next Prime Minister of the UK and was appointed to replace David Cameron
resigned after the result of the EU Membership Referendum. After announcing her
candidacy for the leadership of the party, May had the support of the vast
majority, receiving 165 votes while her rivals, Andrea Leadsom and Michael
Gove, received 66 and 48 votes respectively. After her appointment to the
Premiership, May made large changes to her Cabinet, removing nine of Cameron’s
former ministers. While she herself had favored remaining in the EU, she made
sure to form a cabinet of some of the most vocal supporters of “Brexit”. While
her time as Prime Minister has been brief, she has still had to deal with quite
a few issues of varying levels of importance. In the same month that she was
appointed, she delayed the final approval for a Chinese financed nuclear power
plant. Conversely she also supported the Saudi Arabian intervention in Yemen as
well as selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite accusations of war crimes being committed
in Yemen. One of the biggest things she has done is of course trigger Article 50
of the Treaty of Lisbon, which starts the process for withdrawing from the EU, and
the other infamous incident is the 2017 “snap” election that cost the Conservative
party their majority. This forced them to form a coalition government with the Democratic
Unionist Party from Northern Ireland.

            Theresa May has had a very vigorous political
career, which has led her to the highest office in the UK’s government; however,
the question remains how successful she will be in this position. She has risen
during one of the most tumultuous periods for the UK since the World Wars. The future
of both the UK and Theresa May’s position are up in the air and only the future
knows what is in store. What is certain is that May will go down in history for
good or for ill.