Sky Views: Scandal-free, a devil for detail – things to like, or respect, about Theresa May

Sky Views: Scandal-free, a devil for detail – things to like, or respect, about Theresa May

By Adam Boulton, editor-at-large

By next weekend, Theresa May will be out of 10 Downing Street.

She is leaving as a failed prime minister who was unable to complete her "one job" of delivering Brexit.

The Conservative Party which she often seemed to put first is still bitterly divided, her MPs refused to unite behind her leadership and she was eventually kicked out.

She has been in office for three years but she is now scrabbling achievements to leave behind as her legacy.

On a brighter note, many commentators are predicting that "history will be kind to her" and will look back on her premiership approvingly compared to what may come next.

In that spirit, here is my list of 10 things to like about Prime Minister Theresa May — or at least respect.

1. A good start

Her first day as prime minister may well have been her best day.

Her "Burning Injustices" speech on the doorstep of Number 10 was widely applauded.

She pledged to "make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us" — including black people caught in the criminal justice system, white working class boys, the state school educated, women, and young would-be home owners.

Those campaigning for these groups report "nothing has changed" significantly for them, as Mrs May might put it.

Mrs May legislated on a number of overlooked issues including modern slavery and mental health

2. The UK’s second female head of government

The US, France, Italy, Spain and Japan are just a few of the major nations who haven’t had one yet.

Unlike Mrs Thatcher, Mrs May has championed other women, promoting women to the cabinet and other leadership roles such as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and co-founding Women-2-Win to get more female candidates.

3. Stiff upper lip

To her admirers, Mrs May embodied old-fashioned British virtues.

She never mentions that she suffers from Type 1 Diabetes which requires constant monitoring and frequent self-administered injections.

For all the disloyalty and abuse from her own side, she never complained — just re-doubled her efforts.

She attacked her opponents on policy not personality.

Many say she is "decent" and "diligent".

A less stoical prime minister would have been finished off by the disastrous 2017 party conference speech when she lost her voice and was handed a P45 redundancy notice by a joker before letters spelling out the party slogans started falling off the set.

During a disastrous party conference speech, Mrs May was handed a P45 by a joker

Instead Mrs May opened her 2018 effort dancing to ABBA.

4. Immigration

Unlike many politicians, Theresa May did not try to sweep this delicate topic under the carpet.

As home secretary and then prime minister, she was convinced the British public wanted fewer people coming here and instigated a "hostile environment".

But this had many cruel consequences, as experienced by the Windrush generation.

Despite this, net immigration did not drop significantly over her period in power.

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5. Scandal-free

Mrs May is a private person and kept it that way for her friends and family as well.

No cheap crowd-pleasing stunts for her.

No one has ever raked any muck about the church-going vicar’s daughter and her husband Philip since she became an MP in 1997.

They have modest tastes, as their preferred hill-walking holidays show.

Theresa May and husband Philip enjoy walking holidays

During the 2009 expenses scandal, The Daily Telegraph identified her as "one of the most modest expense claimants in parliament".

6. Devil for detail

Civil servants and colleagues working closely with Mrs May say she goes through piles of documents many times.

Sometimes this means she dithers and is slow to make a decision but when she does, nobody can accuse her of not being on top of her brief or winging it.

7. Party animal

No, not that kind!

Today traditional loyalties to political parties are fraying but Mrs May is a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative.

She has been an active member of the party since she was a schoolgirl.

Nobody needs to tell this MP who still goes out canvassing in Maidenhead what ordinary voters are thinking.

By giving priority to her loyalty to her party and keeping it together, she boxed herself in negotiating with Brussels — but at least her successor will have a Conservative Party to lead.

8. Fashion

Theresa May is the most fashion-conscious prime minister since Benjamin Disraeli, though some might consider her choice in clothes no less eccentric.

She has been a brave follower of fashion and a public clothes horse for UK designers.

9. What she cared about

Prime Minister May raised the prominence and brought forward legislation on a number of important but often-overlooked issues including domestic violence, modern slavery, mental health and climate change.

Nobody needs to tell this MP who still goes out canvassing in Maidenhead what ordinary voters are thinking. Adam Boulton, editor-at-large

Her botched 2017 Election Manifesto at least attempted to find a solution to how to pay for social care with an ageing population.

10. The manner of her leaving

Theresa May is leaving office in a dignified manner.

Even though she won a vote of confidence by her MPs last December, last month she accepted that she had lost the support of her party and announced her resignation.

As she says, she was told her MPs would vote for her EU withdrawal if she offered her head.

She did, they didn’t, but she has not indulged in personal recriminations.

She promoted all the men who put themselves forward to replace her.

Sky Views is a series of comment pieces by Sky News editors and correspondents, published every morning.

Previously on Sky Views: Ian King — Tough regulation misses the point about UK’s water supply

Автор: abcentia
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