Theresa May welcomes new role as Prime Minister with rousing acceptance speech
“We will not think of the powerful, but you”
Earlier this week, 59-year-old former home secretary Theresa May, became the UK's second female prime minister in the wake of David Cameron's resignation after the EU referendum.
She had previously served in the Home Office for more than six years.
Her acceptance speech covered much ground, from appealing for unity in the face of the divisions that came to the foreground after Britain's vote to leave the European Union, to promising better lives for the working class.
Mrs May called to ‘fight the burning injustice’ of dying nine years earlier if you are ‘born poor’.
She said: “David’s (Cameron) true legacy is not about the economy but about social justice. From the introduction of same-sex marriage, to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether; David Cameron has led a one-nation government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead.
“Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party, and that word ‘unionist’ is very important to me.”
She added: “The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.
“When we take the big calls we will think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws we will listen not to the mighty, but to you.
“When it comes to taxes we will prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.”
Mrs May also reshuffled her cabinet, with a new job for Boris Johnson and a sacking for Michael Gove.
The appointment of Johnson as foreign minister has sent ripples of shock throughout Europe with German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, labelling him ‘irresponsible’.
During a speech at Greifswald University, Mr Steinmeier added: “People [in the UK] are experiencing a rude awakening after irresponsible politicians first lured the country into a Brexit to then, once the decision was made, bolt and not take responsibility.
“Instead they went to play cricket. To be honest, I find this outrageous but it's not just bitter for Great Britain. It's also bitter for the European Union.”
Carl Bildt, the former PM of Sweden, tweeted a picture of Boris on the Olympic zip wire with the caption: ‘I wish it was a joke but I fear it isn't. Exit upon exit.’
Meanwhile two casualties have been seen in Cabinet office with both Nicky Morgan (Education Secretary) and John Whittingdale (Culture Secretary) losing their jobs.
The latter wrote on Twitter: “[It] has been a privilege to serve as Culture Secretary. I wish my successor every success & will continue to support creative industries.”
So who is in the new cabinet?
MP for Runnymede & Weybridge since 1997
New Job: Chancellor of the Exchequer
Old Job: Foreign secretary (since July 2014)
MP for Henley between 2001 and 2008 and then MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015
Old Job: Mayor of London
New job: Foreign Secretary
MP for Hastings and Rye since 2010
New Job: Home Secretary
Old Job: Energy and Climate Change secretary (since May 2015)
MP for Darlington from 1983 to 1992 then MP for Sevenoaks from 1997 to today
New job: He remains Secretary of State for Defence
MP for Boothferry from 1987 to 1997 when the seat became Howden and Haltemprice.
New job: Secretary of State for European Union Relations (the new so-called Minister for Brexit)
MP for Woodspring from 1992 to 2010 which then became North Somerset in 2010.
New Job: Secretary of State for International Trade
Old Job: Defence secretary (2010 to 2011)
MP for Putney since 2005
New Job: Remains Secretary of State for International Development (since September 2012)