|The Right Honourable
11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Alan Johnson|
|Minister for Women and Equalities|
11 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Harriet Harman|
|Succeeded by||Maria Miller|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions|
19 January 2009 – 11 May 2010
|Preceded by||Chris Grayling|
|Succeeded by||Yvette Cooper|
|Shadow Leader of the House of Commons|
6 December 2005 – 19 January 2009
|Preceded by||Chris Grayling|
|Succeeded by||Alan Duncan|
|Shadow Secretary of State for Transport|
6 November 2003 – 6 December 2005
|Preceded by||Tim Collins|
|Succeeded by||Tim Yeo|
|Chairman of the Conservative Party|
23 July 2002 – 6 November 2003
|Leader||Iain Duncan Smith|
|Preceded by||David Davis|
|Succeeded by||Liam Fox
The Lord Saatchi
|Member of Parliament
1 May 1997
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Born||Theresa Mary Brasier
1 October 1956
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
|Alma mater||St Hugh's College, Oxford|
May was first elected to Parliament in 1997 as Member of Parliament for Maidenhead. She went on to be appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party and was sworn of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council in 2002.
When David Cameron became Prime Minister in May 2010, May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities; delegating the latter role in 2012 to Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (2012–14).
- 1 Early life, education and career
- 2 Member of Parliament
- 3 Home Secretary
- 4 Minister for Women and Equality
- 5 Controversies
- 5.1 UK/US extradition cases
- 5.2 Banning of khat
- 5.3 Comments on detention of David Miranda
- 5.4 "End of life plan" for mentally ill asylum seeker
- 5.5 Contempt of Court
- 5.6 Ugandan lesbian dies after being deported from the UK
- 5.7 Banning of Zakir Naik from entering the UK
- 5.8 Removal of passport of an Iraqi-born man, on the 2nd occasion
- 5.9 False deportation cat claims
- 5.10 Birmingham schools row
- 5.11 Passport backlog
- 5.12 Deportation of Pakistani Activist, Liaquat Ali Hazara
- 5.13 Resignation of Lib Dem Home Office Minister, Norman Baker
- 5.14 Ex-minister Norman Baker drug plans 'blocked' by Theresa May
- 6 Personal life and public image
- 7 Activism and awards
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early life, education and career
May was educated at primary and grammar schools in the State sector, as well as a short spell at an independent Catholic school. She initially attended Heythrop Primary School, Oxfordshire, followed by St. Juliana's Convent School for Girls, a Roman Catholic independent school in Begbroke, which closed in 1984. At the age of 13, she won a place at the former Holton Park Girls' Grammar School in Wheatley, Oxfordshire. In 1971, the school was abolished and became the site of the new Wheatley Park Comprehensive School during her time as a pupil. May then went to the University of Oxford where she read Geography at St Hugh's College, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in 1977.
Between 1977 and 1983 May worked at the Bank of England, and from 1985 to 1997 as a financial consultant and senior advisor in International Affairs at the Association for Payment Clearing Services. She served as a Councillor for the London Borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994, where she was chairman of Education (1988–90) and Deputy Group Leader and Housing Spokesman (1992–94). In the 1992 general election May stood unsuccessfully in the safe Labour seat of North West Durham and subsequently failed to win the 1994 Barking by-election. In the 1997 general election May was elected Conservative MP for Maidenhead.
Member of Parliament
Having entered Parliament, May became a member of William Hague's front-bench Opposition team, as Shadow Spokesman for Schools, Disabled People and Women (1998 – June 1999). She became the first of the 1997 MPs to enter the Shadow Cabinet when in 1999 she was appointed Shadow Education and Employment Secretary. After the 2001 election the new Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith kept her in the Shadow Cabinet, moving her to the Transport portfolio.
May was appointed the first female Chairman of the Conservative Party in July 2002. During her speech at the 2002 Conservative Party Conference while explaining why, in her view, her Party must change, she coined the phrase that the Conservatives were then perceived as the "Nasty Party". In 2003, she was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Transport after Michael Howard's election as Conservative Party and Opposition Leader in November that year. In June 2004 she was moved to the new position of Shadow Secretary of State for the Family. After the 2005 election May's portfolio was expanded and she became Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whilst remaining Shadow Secretary of State for the Family. David Cameron appointed her Shadow Leader of the House of Commons in December 2005 after his accession to the leadership. In January 2009 May was made Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
On 6 May 2010, May was re-elected MP for Maidenhead with an increased majority of 16,769 – 60 per cent of the vote. This followed an earlier failed attempt to unseat her in 2005 as one of the Liberal Democrats' leading "decapitation-strategy" targets.
On 12 May 2010 Theresa May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his first Cabinet, becoming the fourth woman to hold one of the UK Great Offices of State, after (in order of seniority) Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister), Margaret Beckett (Foreign Secretary) and Jacqui Smith (Home Secretary). As Home Secretary, May is also a member of the National Security Council (United Kingdom). May's debut as Home Secretary involved overturning several of the previous Labour Government's measures on data collection and surveillance in England and Wales. By way of a Government Bill which became the Identity Documents Act 2010, she brought about the abolition of the Labour Government's National Identity Card and database scheme and also reformed the regulations on the retention of DNA samples for suspects and controls on the use of CCTV cameras. On 20 May 2010, May announced the adjournment of the deportation to the USA of alleged computer hacker Gary McKinnon. She also suspended the registration scheme for carers of children and vulnerable people. On 4 August 2010 it was reported that May was scrapping the former Labour Government's proposed "go orders" scheme to protect women from domestic violence by banning abusers from the victim's home. This was followed on 6 August 2010 by the closure of the previous Government's "ContactPoint" database of 11 million under-18-year olds designed to protect children in the wake of the Victoria Climbié child abuse scandal.
On 2 June 2010, May faced her first major national security incident as Home Secretary with the Cumbria shootings. May delivered her first major speech in the House of Commons as Home Secretary in a statement on this incident, later visiting the victims with the Prime Minister. Also in June 2010, May banned the Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik from entering the United Kingdom, resulting in two Home Office officials who disagreed with the Government's policy of excluding Zakir Naik from Britain being suspended from work. In late June 2010, May announced plans for a temporary cap on UK visas for non-EU migrants. The move raised concerns about the impact on the UK economy. Speaking at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) conference on 29 June 2010, May announced radical cuts to the Home Office budget, likely to lead to a reduction in police numbers. In July 2010, it was reported that May had corresponded with Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann. In August 2010, May attended a private meeting with Mr and Mrs McCann to discuss their case.
In July 2010, May presented the House of Commons with proposals for a fundamental review of the previous Labour Government's security and counter-terrorism legislation, including "stop and search" powers, and her intention to review the 28-day limit on detaining terrorist suspects without charge. In mid-July 2010, May oversaw a second major gun incident in the North of England with an unsuccessful week-long police operation to capture and arrest Raoul Moat, an ex-convict who shot three people, killing one. The suspect later shot himself dead. During the incident, Moat was shot with a long-range taser. It later transpired that the firm supplying the taser, Pro-Tect, was in breach of its licence by supplying the police directly with the weapon. Its licence was revoked by the Home Office after the Moat shooting. On 1 October 2010 the BBC reported that the director of the company, Peter Boatman, had apparently killed himself over the incident.
In August 2010, May banned the English Defence League from holding a march in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on 28 August. The EDL protested against the ban, claiming they planned a "peaceful demonstration". Around 2 pm on the day of the ban, violent disturbances in Bradford between EDL members and their opponents were reported, calling for intervention by riot police.
In early September 2010, allegations resurfaced regarding the phone-tapping scandal in connection with which tabloid newspaper journalists had been jailed in 2009 for intercepting the mobile phone messages of major public figures. The case involved a journalist employed by former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who had later become director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron. (Coulson was absolved of any role in the bugging incidents during a House of Commons enquiry in 2009.) Labour Party leadership candidate Ed Balls called on the Home Secretary to make a statement to the House on the matter. On 5 September, May told the BBC that there were "no grounds for a public enquiry". The Metropolitan Police said it might consider re-examining evidence on the allegations. On 6 September 2010, May faced parliamentary questions over the allegations following an intervention by Speaker Bercow.
On 9 December 2010, in the wake of violent student demonstrations in central London against increases to higher-education tuition fees, May praised the actions of the police in controlling the demonstrations but was described by the Daily Telegraph as "under growing political pressure" due to her handling of the protests.
In December 2010, May declared that deployment of water cannon by police forces in mainland Britain was an operational decision which had been "resisted until now by senior police officers." On 9 August 2011, May rejected their use and said: "the way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities." May said: "I condemn utterly the violence in Tottenham... Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated, and the Metropolitan Police have my full support in restoring order." She returned to the UK from holiday to meet senior police officials on 8 August.
In the aftermath of the riots May urged the identification of as many as possible of the young criminals involved. She said: "when I was in Manchester last week, the issue was raised to me about the anonymity of juveniles who are found guilty of crimes of this sort. The Crown Prosecution Service is to order prosecutors to apply for anonymity to be lifted in any youth case they think is in the public interest. The law currently protects the identity of any suspect under the age of 18, even if they are convicted, but it also allows for an application to have such restrictions lifted, if deemed appropriate." May added that "what I've asked for is that CPS guidance should go to prosecutors to say that where possible, they should be asking for the anonymity of juveniles who are found guilty of criminal activity to be lifted."
At the Conservative Party Conference on 4 October 2011, while arguing that the Human Rights Act needed to be amended, May gave the example of a foreign national who the Courts ruled was allowed to remain in the UK, "because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat". In response, the Royal Courts of Justice issued a statement, denying that this was the reason for the tribunal's decision in that case, and stating that the real reason was that he was in a genuine relationship with a British partner, and owning a pet cat was simply one of many pieces of evidence given to show that the relationship was "genuine". The Home Office had failed to apply its own rules for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke subsequently called May's comments "laughable and childlike."
In June 2012, May was found in contempt of court by Judge Barry Cotter QC, and stood accused of "totally unacceptable and regrettable behaviour", being said to have shown complete disregard of a legal agreement to free an Algerian from a UK Immigration Detention Centre. As she eventually allowed the prisoner to be freed, May avoided further sanctions including fines or imprisonment.
In June 2013, May signed an order prohibiting Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, two American bloggers who co-founded the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America, from entering the United Kingdom on the basis that their presence would not be "conducive to the public good". The pair had been invited to attend an English Defence League march at Woolwich, where Drummer Lee Rigby had been killed earlier that year. The pressure group Hope not Hate led a campaign to exclude the pair, whom the Home Office described as "inflammatory speakers who promote hate".
On 29 August 2014, the British government raised the terrorist threat level to "severe," as Prime Minister David Cameron and May warned a terrorist attack was "highly likely," following the coming to prominence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. May admitted that, although the threat level had been hiked to the second-highest possible, there was no intelligence warning of an imminent attack.
On 26 July 2010, May announced a package of reforms to policing in England and Wales in the House of Commons. The previous Labour Government's central crime agency, Soca (Serious Organised Crime Agency) was to be replaced by a new National Crime Agency. In common with the Conservative Party 2010 general election manifesto's flagship proposal for a "Big Society" based on voluntary action, May also proposed to increase the role of civilian "reservists" for crime control. The reforms were rejected by the Opposition Labour Party.
Following the actions of a minority of Black Bloc in vandalising allegedly tax-avoiding shops and businesses on the day of the 26 March TUC march, the Home Secretary unveiled reforms curbing the right to protest, including giving police extra powers to remove masked individuals and to police social networking sites to prevent illegal protest without police consent or notification.
On 28 July 2010, May proposed to review the previous Labour Government's anti-social behaviour legislation signalling the abolition of the "Anti-Social Behaviour Order" (ASBO). She identified the policy's high level of failure with almost half of ASBOs breached between 2000 and 2008, leading to "fast-track" criminal convictions. May proposed a less punitive, community-based approach to tackling social disorder. May suggested that anti-social behaviour policy "must be turned on its head", reversing the ASBO's role as the flagship crime control policy legislation under Labour. Unsurprisingly, former Labour Home Secretaries David Blunkett (who introduced ASBOs) and Alan Johnson expressed their disapproval of the proposals.
2012 Restrictions on family migration
On 11 June 2012, May, as Home Secretary, announced to Parliament that new restrictions would be introduced, intended to reduce the number of non-European Economic Area family migrants. The changes were mostly intended to apply to new applicants after 9 July 2012. The new rules came into effect from 9 July 2012 allowing only those British citizens earning more than £18,600 and have a minimum savings of £16,000 to bring their spouse or their child to live with them in the UK. This figure would rise significantly in cases where visa applications are also made for children. They also increased the current two-year probationary period for partners to five years. The rules also prevent any adult and elderly dependents from settling in the UK unless they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK. The rules were introduced by the 'back door' without a proper debate and were criticised later as being arbitrary, dividing families, disrupting integration by a variety of different civil society groups. An MP, who was concerned about this, addressed May in Parliament as to whether she had examined the impact on communities and families on modest incomes, but he received no direct response. Liberty concluded that the new rules showed scant regard to the impact they would have on genuine families. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration conducted an evidence based inquiry into the impact of the rules and concluded in their report that the rules were causing very young children to be separated from their parents and could exile British citizens from the UK.
Immigration Act 2014
May introduced to the House of Commons her Immigration Bill in October 2013. It was passed on 14 May 2014, whereupon it became the Immigration Act 2014. This was later deemed to be a "landmark" by James Brokenshire MP, her subordinate Minister of State, in an article in which the number of ex-EU immigrants for the year to September 2014 was revealed to have increased from 243,000 to 292,000.
Minister for Women and Equality
May's appointment as Minister for Women and Equality was initially criticised by some members of the LGBT/gay rights movement, since she had voted against lowering the age of consent (in 1998) and against greater adoption rights for homosexuals (in 2002), voting instead in favour of civil partnerships. May later stated, during an appearance on the BBC's Question Time, that she had "changed her mind" on gay adoption. Writing for Pink News in June 2010, May clarified her proposals for improving LGBT rights including measures to tackle homophobia in sport, advocating British society's need for "cultural change".
On 2 July 2010, May stated she would be supporting the previous Labour Government's Anti-Discrimination Laws enshrined in the Equality Act 2010 despite having previously opposed this legislation. The Equality Act came into effect in England, Wales and Scotland on 1 October 2010.
On 17 November 2010, May announced that the "socio-economic duty" legislation (alias "Harman's Law") was to be scrapped. This would have required public bodies to consider how they can reduce socio-economic inequalities when making decisions about spending and services; the legislation was part of the Equality Act which did not come into force in October and was put up for review as being unworkable.
Islamophobe of the year 2015
At the Islamic Human Rights Commission's annual "Islamophobia Awards" in 2015, she was voted the year’s worst Islamophobe. The IHRC's website cited her stripping Britons of their citizenship without due process, other counter terrorism laws and the PREVENT strategy as examples of her Islamophobia 
UK/US extradition cases
May received sharp criticism for allowing the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer, a student and founder of the TVShack streaming site. In a YouGov survey over 70% of those polled disagreed with Richard O'Dwyer's extradition. May was also criticised for her handling of the extradition of Syed Talha Ahsan. The Ahsan extradition case raised controversy due to comparison with the treatment of Gary McKinnon, whose extradition - expected to be 10 days after Ahsan's - was stalled after his medical diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and associative risks, similar to a diagnosis given to Ahsan. This led to accusations from some British media, Human Rights NGOs as well as religious groups of a racist double standard in the Home Secretary's application of the law.
Banning of khat
In July 2013, May decided to ban the stimulant khat, against the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. The council reached the conclusion that there was "insufficient evidence" it caused health problems, while May argued that the possibility of harming evidence existing was sufficient grounds for banning something - "we risk underestimating the actual harms of khat in our communities owing to the limitations of the evidence base available to the ACMD".
Explaining the change in the classifictation May said: "The decision to bring khat under control is finely balanced and takes into account the expert scientific advice and these broader concerns", and pointed out that the product had already been banned in the whole of northern Europe, most recently the Netherlands, the majority of other EU member states, as well as most of the G8 countries including Canada and the US. A report on khat use by the ACMD published in January 2013 had noted the product had been associated with "acute psychotic episodes", "chronic liver disease" and family breakdown.
Comments on detention of David Miranda
In August 2013 May was accused by Lord Macdonald of an "extremely ugly and unhelpful" attempt to implicate opponents of David Miranda's detention in condoning terrorism. May had suggested that anyone opposed to using controversial anti-terrorism laws against journalists was condoning terrorism. Macdonald raised the "perfectly legitimate" issue of finding the balance between security and liberty, and suggested that we "wait and see what the independent review of this episode has to say before we start accusing people of condoning terrorism and nonsense of that sort".
According to The Guardian newspaper, Miranda was found to have been carrying an external hard drive containing 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents, and his detention was ruled lawful by the UK High Court, which accepted that Miranda's detention and the seizure of computer material was "an indirect interference with press freedom" but said this was justified by legitimate and "very pressing" interests of national security.
Members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) in Parliament said that allowing police to stop and search suspects at airports without suspicion was "not inherently incompatible" with human rights. MPs and peers said they agreed anti-terror officers should be able to "stop, question, request documentation and physically search persons and property" even when they did not have reasonable suspicion that an offence had been committed. But they urged the Government to introduce new restrictions on powers such as strip-searches, detentions and searches of the contents of electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones, and said that these "more intrusive" measures should only take place when officers had reasonable suspicion that someone was involved in terrorism.
"End of life plan" for mentally ill asylum seeker
Under her tenure the Home Office refused to release a mentally ill Nigerian man Isa Muazu on hunger-strike living in an asylum centre. In order to strengthen the Home Office's tough stance an "end of life' plan was offered to the individual.
Contempt of Court
In June 2012, May was found to be in contempt of court by Judge Barry Cotter QC, standing accused of "totally unacceptable and regrettable behaviour" having said to have shown complete disregard to a legal agreement to free an Algerian from a UK Immigration Detention Centre. As she eventually allowed the prisoner to be freed, May avoided further sanctions including fines or imprisonment.
Ugandan lesbian dies after being deported from the UK
Under her tenure at the Home Office, Ugandan lesbian, Jackie Nanyonjo was deported. On 10 January 2013 the UK Border Agency told her she was to be deported on an EgyptAir flight, despite having applied for a judicial review of her case. When the airline was told she was being sent back against her will, it refused to carry her, but Qatar Airways agreed with the UKBA to fly her to Entebbe.
She was accompanied on the flight by four security escorts from Reliance Security who, her friends claimed, beat her throughout the flight forcing her head down between her legs, and attempted to strangle her. By the time she left the plane she was vomiting blood from the injuries she had received, but was not given medical attention. When she was released to family members several hours after her arrival, and after being held by Ugandan authorities at the airport, they rushed her to a clinic. She was in hiding as a known lesbian, protected by relatives; every trip to a doctor or hospital involved a risk to her life and to the safety of her family.
Banning of Zakir Naik from entering the UK
In June 2010, May barred Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik from entering the United Kingdom. As a result two Home Office civil servants who vocalised to the Government's ruling to exclude Zakir Naik from Britain were suspended from duty.
Removal of passport of an Iraqi-born man, on the 2nd occasion
In November 2013, May removed the passport of Hilal Al Jedda, although he had won an appeal in the Supreme Court in November 2013. The Supreme Court had ruled that rescinding Al Jedda's passport was unlawful. Having entered the UK under the guise of an asylum seeker in 1992, he first lost his British passport in 2007 after serving three years at a military detention centre in Iraq for suspected terrorism offences. Al Jedda became the first person to be stripped twice of British citizenship.
False deportation cat claims
May has come under criticism by Labour and human rights organizations over her comments about a deportation case involving a man who fought deportation by providing details of his relationship with a woman from the UK, including the fact they had a pet cat.
May used the case as an example in an attack on the Human Rights Act and Article 8 that an illegal immigrant avoided deportation because of his pet cat, saying "we all know the stories about the Human Rights Act ... about the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because, and I am not making this up, he had a pet cat." However, a Spokesman for the Judicial Office at the Royal Courts of Justice, which issues statements on behalf of High Court Justices, said the pet had "had nothing to do with" the judgement allowing the man to stay.
Human Rights campaigners criticised the comment and said May "urgently needs to get her facts straight", while Amnesty International said May's comments only fuelled "myths and misconceptions" about the Human Rights Act and the fact "that someone in Theresa May's position can be so misinformed as to parade out a story about someone being allowed to stay in Britain because of a cat is nothing short of alarming."
Birmingham schools row
In June 2014, an inflamed public argument arose between Home Office and Education Ministers about responsibility for alleged extremism in Birmingham schools. Prime Minister David Cameron's intervened to resolve the row, insisting that May sack her Special Advisor Fiona Cunningham for releasing on May's website a confidential letter to May's colleagues, and that Gove, the Education Secretary, apologise to the Home Office's head of Security and Counter-Terrorism, Charles Farr, for uncomplimentary briefings of him appearing on the front page of The Times.
By mid 2014, American company 3M which makes the RFID microchips hidden in new passports, and their client, the Passport Office, revealed allegations of a large backlog in developing processing passport applications appeared. David Cameron suggested that this had come about due to the Passport Office's receiving an "above normal" 300,000-rise in applications. It was revealed, however, that May had been warned the year before, in July 2013, that a surge of 350,000 extra applications could occur owing to the closure of processing overseas under Chancellor Osborne's programme of cuts. Well over £600,000 were paid to staff who helped clear the backlog.
Deportation of Pakistani Activist, Liaquat Ali Hazara
Liaquat Ali Hazara, whose deportation was set for 21 October 2014, campaigned for a Shia minority group against sectarian violence. Britain planned to deport a prominent Pakistani activist within a week, even though it was claimed he had received multiple death threats from the country's most brutal sectarian group, and from Taliban militants who knew his home address and had been stalking him online.
Resignation of Lib Dem Home Office Minister, Norman Baker
Norman Baker resigned on 3 November 2014 because of the Home Office and Theresa May. He told The Independent that the experience of working at the Home Office had been like "walking through mud" as he found his plans thwarted by the Home Secretary and her advisers. "They have looked upon it as a Conservative department in a Conservative government, whereas in my view it's a Coalition department in a Coalition government," he said. "That mindset has framed things, which means I have had to work very much harder to get things done even where they are what the Home Secretary agrees with and where it has been helpful for the Government and the department. "There comes a point when you don't want to carry on walking through mud and you want to release yourself from that."
Ex-minister Norman Baker drug plans 'blocked' by Theresa May
Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP and former Home Office minister, has accused the Tories of ignoring reality as he released the details of proposals to reform drug laws that were stripped from a government report by the home secretary. He said that drugs policy should be based “on evidence, not dogma” and that, although the Conservatives were opposed to liberalisation, they were losing the argument on the issue. Under pressure from the Lib Dems, the Home Office commissioned a report looking at the international evidence on the impact of legislation on drug use. Theresa May, the home secretary, made no secret of the fact that she had no enthusiasm for the project, and when it was published in October, with Baker taking the lead in publicising it, Conservative ministers signalled that they would ignore it.
Personal life and public image
She married Philip John May on 6 September 1980; the couple have no children. Outside politics, May lists her interests as walking and cooking. Journalists have drawn parallels between May's shift to designer apparel and her political rise in fortunes since her parliamentary debut.
Since coming into prominence as a front-bench politician, May's public image has divided media opinion, especially from some in the traditionalist right-wing press. Commenting on May's debut as Home Secretary, Anne Perkins of The Guardian observed that "she'll be nobody's stooge", while Cristina Odone of The Daily Telegraph predicted her to be "the rising star" of the Coalition Government. Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail later complimented May's Home Secretary performances as "unflappable" and Allegra Stratton, then with The Guardian, praised May as showing managerial acumen. In February 2013, Labour MP Keith Vaz was reported to have commented on May's significant weight loss, describing her as "thin" in comparison to her previous fuller figure. May had become visibly slimmer after early 2013 which she attributed to dieting and exercise. However, she later revealed that she had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Her parliamentary expenses have been "modest" (about £15,000 between 2005 - 2009) in recent years.
Activism and awards
Prior to and since her appointment to Government, May actively supports a variety of campaigns on policy issues in her constituency and at the national level of politics. She has spoken at the Fawcett Society promoting the cross-party issue of gender equality. May was nominated as one of the Society's Inspiring Women of 2006.
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