May in June 2019
|Spouse of the Prime Minister|
of the United Kingdom
13 July 2016 – 24 July 2019
|Preceded by||Samantha Cameron|
|Succeeded by||Marina Wheeler (de jure)|
Philip John May
1957 (age 62–63)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Theresa Brasier (m. 1980)
|Education||Calday Grange Grammar School|
|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 father was a sales representative for a shoe wholesaler and his mother a French teacher.
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 in 1979. He took over from future Conservative MP Alan Duncan in the role and was succeeded by future journalist Michael Crick.
May has worked in finance since graduating from university. In 2005, he joined the financial group Capital Group as a relationship manager; he had previously been a fund manager for de Zoete & Bevan, Prudential Portfolio Managers and Deutsche Asset Management. Capital Group is a shareholder in BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin. His former LinkedIn profile listed his focuses in work as pension fund and insurance relationship management.
In regards to his persona, one of his colleagues told The Guardian that "around the office, he is a fairly head-down type of guy. There is a stereotypical investment manager with a big ego – he's not like that at all."
After his wife Theresa May emerged as the only remaining candidate for the Conservative Party leadership, May's 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."
Involvement in politics
May briefly served as chairman of the Conservative Party association in Wimbledon before reportedly deciding to concentrate on his career in finance. He has remained an active right-wing campaigner and has been described by others as an "experienced Conservative activist". He was named in the Panama Papers in 2016.
May did not attend meetings to advise the Prime Minister in an official capacity but was 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. He helped to canvass voters ahead of the 2017 Copeland by-election and supports his wife in her Maidenhead constituency business.
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.
On 27 January 2019, The Sunday Times reported that Theresa May's chief of staff Gavin Barwell had accused Philip May of "scuppering" plans to offer the Labour Party a permanent customs union with the EU to try and push the withdrawal agreement through parliament. May is said to have encouraged his wife to seek changes to the deal by removing the Irish backstop, in order for it to be approved by parliament with the support of the DUP and Brexiteer Conservative MPs.
May and his future wife, then Theresa Brasier, met while students at Oxford University; they were introduced by 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 Rev Hubert Brasier.
As the spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, May generally avoided giving interviews or making public statements, but did accompany his wife for a joint interview on the BBC One programme The One Show prior to the 2017 general election. In the interview, Theresa May stated her sadness that, for health reasons, she and Philip have not been able to have children, saying: "You look at families all the time and you see there is something there that you don't have". Also in the interview, May said: "I get to decide when I take the bins out. Not if I take them out", and commented, "I do the traditional boy jobs by and large." 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."
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| Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Marina Wheeler (de jure)