17:19 GMT15 August 2020
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    Newly appointed UK Conservative Party leader Theresa May is facing the most tumultuous 36 hours in her political career as she prepares to become Britain's second ever female prime minister and the first to negotiate the UK's exit from the European Union.

    May's installation as Conservative leader after the only other candidate, energy minister Andrea Leadsom, pulled out, put an end to what would have been nine weeks of campaigning, catapulting May into Downing Street with stunning speed. 

    She has attended Cameron's last cabinet meeting Tuesday (July 12) and will now begin talks with colleagues to start putting together her first cabinet, which should be in place by the end of the week. She will have her work cut out. Having herself campaigned — albeit not very vigorously — for Britain to remain in the EU, she now has to reunite her party, which is split over Europe.

    ​She will clearly have to give senior positions to those that supported the successful Brexit campaigns, while also bringing in those who voted to remain, in an effort to head up a cabinet of unity. She must also reunite the country which voted 52 percent for Brexit and 48 percent for remaining.

    At the launch of her — suddenly shortened — campaign for leadership, in Birmingham Monday (July 11) she gave several clues as to her priorities. She said:

    "First, our country needs strong, proven leadership — to steer us through this time of economic and political uncertainty, and to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the EU and forge a new role for ourselves in the world. Because Brexit means Brexit and we're going to make a success of it."

    "Second, we need to unite our Party and our country. And third, we need a bold, new, positive vision for the future of our country — a vision of a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us."

    Cabinet Unity

    Her most urgent need is to put together a top team. She is likely to move current Chancellor, George Osborne, who is seen as damaged, having supported Cameron is campaigning to remain, hoping to be the next prime minister, but failing.

    May is clearly steering the economy in a non-Osborne direction, saying there was a need for:

    "More Treasury-backed project bonds for new infrastructure projects. More house building. A proper industrial strategy to get the whole economy firing. And a plan to help not one or even two of our great regional cities but every single one of them."

    The current betting in Westminster is for Osborne to swap places with current Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond. But she also has to find a place for both former London Mayor and current Justice Secretary Michael Gove — both having campaigned for Brexit.

    She will sit with Cameron Wednesday (July 13) at his final Prime Minister's Question Time, before he is driven to Buckingham Palace to formally resign to Queen Elizabeth II. Then it will be May's turn to go to the queen, who will formally ask her to form a government.

    By early evening, May will walk through the door at 10 Downing Street — the second female ever, after Margaret Thatcher — and begin the task of forming her cabinet. Top of her agenda will be triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon and beginning negotiations over Britain's departure from the EU.


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    Brexit, Prime Minister, parliament, European Parliament, European Council, European Union, Michael Gove, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Theresa May, Europe, United Kingdom
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