Sunday, 31 May 2020

Theresa walks into Number 10

THERESA MAY has been praised as she takes over as Prime Minister. 

THERESA MAY has been praised as she takes over as Prime Minister. 

The MP for Maidenhead replaced David Cameron on Wednesday evening after he officially tendered his resignation to the Queen earlier in the afternoon.

Mrs May was the only candidate left after rival Andrea Leadsom, a former South Oxfordshire district councillor, withdrew from the race on Monday.

The Prime Minister is a regular attendee of Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Festival, which she visited with her husband Philip on Friday last week for the performance of opera singer Bryn Terfel.

Mrs May, who becomes the second female UK Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher, walked into 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.

The former Home Secretary’s family home is in Sonning and she is president of Wargrave Girls Football Club.

Chairman Bob Austen invited her to take up the post in 2013. He said: “She has come every year since, and the year before, and she has been a wonderful supporter of the club.

“I think it’s one of the events she probably looks forward to coming to because it’s a happy and inspirational day.

“She’s a good sport, she’s worn one of our shirts on occasion. When she came in May this year the weather looked pretty horrible but when her car turned up the sun came out. It was sunny for the rest of the morning.”

Mr Austen, of Dunnock Way, Wargrave, said Mrs May would stay the club’s president “regardless” of  her political duties.

She also attended the party for the Queen’s 90th birthday on Mill Green, which Mr Austen helped to organise.

“Theresa gave out awards and gave a lovely speech, all off the cuff,” Mr Austen said. “She is good fun and when she went round she went to the people from the old folks homes and that’s her through and through.

“She’s not only going to shake hands with the great and the good. She’s got time for everybody and that’s a big feature of Theresa May.

“She has a common touch and makes friends wherever she goes. I do not know a single person, regardless of political persuasion, that has a bad thing to say about her.”

Mrs May has been MP for the Maidenhead constituency, which includes Wargrave, Remenham, Charvil and Sonning, since 1997.

John Halsall, parish council chairman in Remenham and a member of the executive committee for Maidenhead Conservatives, said he was delighted that she is now the Prime Minister. “I’ve worked with Theresa for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“It’s been a pleasant, comfortable and productive working relationship. She is a very popular and well considered local MP.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with her, I am delighted.”

Councillor Halsall also praised Mr May. He added: “Philip is one of the nicest people to deal with that I could imagine.”

His sentiment is shared by Sonning Parish Council chairman Pat Doyle. “Whenever we see Theresa, we see Philip and they are both really nice, really good people,” he said.

Councillor Doyle said he saw Mrs May at a function three weeks ago. He said: “I try to never talk to her about politics. We talk about life in Sonning.

“She was part of a project where we put on new lights over Sonning Bridge and she came to switch them on for us in 2014.

“When she came to do it she had little reflective bits on her shoes so when the lights came on they lit up, that was brilliant. She is a regular attendee at St Andrew’s Church and I see her at other things around the village.”

Rev Jamie Taylor, vicar of the church in Thames Street, said Mrs May had been a member of the “church family” for 20 years.

He said: “On behalf of all at St Andrew’s Church in Sonning, I warmly congratulate Theresa May MP as she prepares to take up the daunting responsibilities before her.

“She is a hardworking and highly respected local MP and has been a valued and very supportive member of our church family for the last 20 years.

“She and her husband, Philip, are joint patrons of our new parish hall fundraising appeal and she also acts as patron of the Friends of St Andrew’s.

“I believe she is well placed to lead our nation and to deliver a successful negotiation as we leave the European Union.”

Mrs May has attended a number of events at Henley Sailing Club, based off Willow Lane in Wargrave.

Commodore Carol Stitson said: “I met her five or six weeks ago when she came to see us and she stayed much longer than she needed to. She was really interested in the history of the club and how it had evolved. She wanted to talk to people and took time to chat to them — that was really lovely.”

Mrs May had been expecting a lengthy leadership race but Mrs Leadsom withdrew on Monday.

Mrs Leadsom, who worked at Invesco Perpetual, which has its head office in Henley, from 1999 to 2009, apologised to Mrs May on Monday after a weekend newspaper interview suggested that she said being a mother made her a better candidate for the job than the home secretary.

Henley MP John Howell had supported Mrs May’s leadership bid from the start.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Theresa was by far the best candidate for the job. It comes down to the competence she has shown in her jobs over the past years. She will be brilliant at uniting the country.”

The new Prime Minister gave an off-the-cuff speech at the Henley Conservatives’ annual lunch last October. Chairman Dieter Hinke said: “She is an excellent choice. Everyone in our Conservative association likes her and I am sure we will support her.”

• On Wednesday Mrs May appointed former Henley MP Boris Johnson to the cabinet as Foreign Secretary.

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