Philip May

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Philip May
Philip May.jpg
May in 2017
Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
Assumed role
13 July 2016
Preceded bySamantha Cameron
Personal details
Philip John May

(1957-09-18) 18 September 1957 (age 61)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Political partyConservative
Theresa Brasier (m. 1980)
Residence10 Downing Street
Alma materLincoln College, Oxford

Philip John May (born 18 September 1957)[1] is a British investment relationship manager and the husband of Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Early life and education[edit]

May was born in Norwich, Norfolk, and grew up near Liverpool, attending school in Heswall and then Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby.[2][3] His parents worked as a sales representative for a shoe wholesaler and a French teacher, respectively.[4]

May attended university at Lincoln College of the University of Oxford, graduating with a history degree.[5] 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.[6]


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.[5][7] His former LinkedIn profile listed his focuses in work as pension fund and insurance relationship management.[8][9]

After his wife Theresa May, now the British Prime Minister,[10] 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."[11]

May alongside his wife Theresa, who declared her intention to stay on following the inconclusive election result of June 2017

Philip May briefly served as chairman of the local Conservative Party association in Wimbledon before reportedly deciding to concentrate on his career in finance.[3] 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.[12] 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.[12]

Personal life[edit]

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.[13] They later bonded over a shared love of cricket, and were married on 6 September 1980 by Theresa's father, the Reverend Hubert Brasier.[14][15]

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".[15][16]

May alongside other spouses of world leaders at the G20 in July 2017

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"[17][18] which drew criticism from some commentators that the Mays were too fixed on what a girl and boy should be limited to.[19] Later in the interview, May stated that "I quite like ties. Jackets, stuff like that. Normal."[20]

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."[21]

May has been described as an "experienced Conservative activist and campaigner".[22] He was named in the Panama Papers in 2016.[23]

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',[17][24] following her consultation with him over calling the snap general election in 2017 and her 2016 Conservative Party Conference speech.[25]

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.[25]

Brexit negotiations[edit]

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.[26]


  1. ^ Awford, Jenny (4 October 2017). "May's 'Secret Weapon'". The Sun. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Philip May: the Prime Minister's closest political adviser". New Statesman. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Philip May: The banker husband and Theresa's 'real rock'". ITV News. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Profile: Theresa May's husband: Philip". BBC News. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b Wyatt, Daisy (3 July 2016). "Who is Theresa May's husband?". I (newspaper). Archived from the original on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  6. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Presidents of the Union since 1900". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. pp. 527–532. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
  7. ^ Goodley, Simon. "Philip May: the reserved City fixture and husband happy to take a back seat". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  8. ^ Levine, Daniel. "Philip John May, Theresa May's Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  9. ^ Makortoff. "Who is Britain's new 'first husband'?". CNBC. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  10. ^ Day, Elizabeth. "Theresa May – what lies beyond the public image?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 July 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Theresa May used 'well-established' blind trust mechanism". BBC. 11 January 2017. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b Esther Addley (9 May 2017). "Philip May: the prime minister's husband steps out of the shadows". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  13. ^ Mendick, Robert (9 July 2016). "The Oxford romance that has guided Theresa May from tragedy to triumph". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  14. ^ Orr, Deborah (14 December 2009). "Theresa May: David Cameron's lady in waiting". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  15. ^ a b "I was probably goody two-shoes: Theresa May interviewed". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Philip May (LinkedIn page)". LinkedIn. Retrieved 3 July 2016.[dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Who is Philip May? Theresa May's husband and closest advisor". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  18. ^ Hulme, Susan (9 May 2017). "The Mays on love, shoes, and who takes the bins out". BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Theresa May under fire for comments during One Show chat". Mail Online. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  20. ^ Bryan, Scott. "7 Rather Awkward Moments From Theresa And Philip May's "One Show" Interview". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  21. ^ Deacon, Michael (9 May 2017). "Theresa and Philip May on The One Show: sweet, but screamingly dull". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Philip May: Tory activist, City insider . . . and Europhile?". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018.
  23. ^ "May told to prove she has 'nothing to hide' after 10,000 sign petition to declare offshore interests". Archived from the original on 1 January 2018.
  24. ^ Blackburn, Virginia (13 July 2016). "Meet the close-knit team of trusted advisors who will guide Theresa May as PM". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Mr. May makes global debut". POLITICO. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  26. ^ "MPs' next recess could be cancelled as PM dealt another backstop blow". Evening Standard. 27 January 2019.
Unofficial roles
Preceded by
Samantha Cameron
Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom