POLITICS

Prime Minister Theresa May Takes Office With A Promise To Look After Working People

13/07/2016 18:12 | Updated 13 July 2016
OLI SCARFF via Getty Images

Theresa May has said the “mission” of her new government will be to look after working people, as she took charge as prime minister.

“We will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us,” she said.

Speaking outside No.10 Downing Street, May said the UK would build a “bold new positive role” for itself outside the European Union. “We face a time of great national change,” she said.

Looking directly down the camera lense, May said said she would focus on helping people who “work around the clock” but find life a “struggle”.

May vowed to tackle injustice, saying “the government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few”, adding that “together we will build a better Britain”.

“When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you,” she said.

“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.”

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few

And she said she would fight to maintain the “previous bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland” which has been put in doubt following the Brexit vote.

She added: “We believe in a union not just between the nations of the UK but between all of our citizens, everyone of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from.”

The former home secretary has become the UK’s second ever woman prime minister. Earlier this evening, May visited Buckingham Palace where the Queen formally invited her to form a government.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Theresa May at the start of an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited the former Home Secretary to become Prime Minister and form a new government.

May also paid tribute to her predecessor. “Under David’s leadership, the government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit and helped more people into work than every before,” she said.

However she said his most important legacy was one of “social justice”.

“David cameron has led a One Nation government and it is in that spirit I also plan to lead,” she said.

David Cameron said the country is “much stronger” now than it was when he first entered Downing Street six years ago, as he left No.10 for the last time earlier this evening.

Speaking alongside his wife and three children, Cameron said he expected Theresa May to provide “strong and stable leadership” as his successor.

“I am delighted that for the second time in British history the new prime minister will be a woman – and once again, a Conservative,” he said.

“I believe Theresa will provide strong and stable leadership in fulfilling the Conservative Manifesto on which we were elected, and I wish her well in negotiating the best possible terms for Britain’s exit from the European Union.”

Theresa May’s First Statement As Prime Minister In Full

I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government, and I accepted.

In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David’s leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s 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.

It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it means something else that is just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from.

That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. 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’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll 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.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change. And I know because we’re Great Britain that we will rise to the challenge. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

That will be the mission of the Government I lead. And together, we will build a better Britain.

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