May in 2017
|Spouse of the Prime Minister|
of the United Kingdom
13 July 2016
|Preceded by||Samantha Cameron|
Philip John May
18 September 1957
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Theresa Brasier (m. 1980)
|Residence||10 Downing Street|
|Alma mater||Lincoln College, Oxford|
Early life and education
May was born in Norwich, Norfolk, and grew up near Liverpool, attending school in Heswall and then Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby. His parents worked as a sales representative for a shoe wholesaler and a French teacher, respectively.
May attended university at Lincoln College of the University of Oxford, graduating with a history degree. He served as the Oxford Union Society's President during 1979. In this role he took over from future Conservative MP Alan Duncan and was succeeded by future journalist Michael Crick.
May has worked in finance since graduating from university. As of 2016, he has been employed by the financial group Capital Group as a relationship manager for more than ten years; he had previously been a fund manager for de Zoete & Bevan, Prudential Portfolio Managers and Deutsche Asset Management. His former LinkedIn profile listed his focuses in work as pension fund and insurance relationship management.
After his wife Theresa May, now the British Prime Minister, emerged as the only remaining candidate for the Conservative party leadership, his employer issued a statement saying that his current job does not make him responsible for investment decisions: "he is not involved with, and doesn't manage, money and is not a portfolio manager. His job is to ensure the clients are happy with the service and that we understand their goals."
Philip May briefly served as chairman of the local Conservative Party association in Wimbledon before reportedly deciding to concentrate on his career in finance. May has remained an active campaigner for the Conservative Party: he helped to canvass voters ahead of the 2017 Copeland by-election and he supports his wife in her Maidenhead constituency business. As May's spouse, he has generally avoided giving interviews or making public statements, but did accompany her for a joint interview on the BBC One programme The One Show during the 2017 general election campaign.
May and his future wife, then Theresa Brasier, met while students at Oxford University; they were introduced by future Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto at a Conservative Party student disco. They later bonded over a shared love of cricket, and were married on 6 September 1980 by Theresa's father, the Reverend Hubert Brasier.
Theresa May has stated her regret that, for health reasons, she and Philip have not been able to have children; she said in one interview that, "You look at families all the time and you see there is something there that you don't have".
According to a joint interview on The One Show, prior to the 2017 general election, May said "I get to decide when I take the bins out. Not if I take them out" further diverging that "I do the traditional boy jobs by and large" which drew criticism from some commentators that the Mays were too fixed on what a girl and boy should be limited to. Later in the interview, May stated that "I quite like ties. Jackets, stuff like that. Normal."
Asked about the downside to being married to the prime minister, May insisted it was a privilege, saying: "If you're the kind of man who expects his tea to be on the table at six o'clock every evening, you could be a disappointed man."
It has been noted that May does not attend meetings to advise the Prime Minister in an official capacity but has been referred to as the Prime Minister's 'most trusted adviser', following her consultation with him over calling the snap general election in 2017 and her 2016 Conservative Party Conference speech.
May made his first official visit as spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the G20 summit in July 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. During the visit, he attended gala concerts and took boat trips with the spouses of other world leaders.
The Sunday Times reported, on 27 January 2019, that Theresa May's chief of staff Gavin Barwell accused Philip May of "scuppering" plans to offer Labour a permanent customs union with the EU to try and get Labour's support in pushing through the Withdrawal agreement through parliament. Philip May is said to have encouraged his wife to seek changes to the Brexit deal (by removing the backstop) that can get through parliament with the support of the DUP and Brexiteer Tory MPs.
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| Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom