Theresa May: Britain’s next prime minister

The Guardian reports: For a woman on the verge of running the country, Theresa May has seemed almost preternaturally calm over the past few days.

“She’s basically the same as ever; quite relaxed and cheerful. There’s no sense of the prison shades falling,” says a longstanding friend who has observed her closely during the campaign. But then, unlike Andrea Leadsom, seemingly badly shaken by a single weekend of hostile media coverage, May knew better than anyone what to expect.

Over the past six years, May has weathered riots, sat in on a decision to go to war, and chaired an emergency Cobra meeting in the prime minister’s absence following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

She has been diligently doing her homework for years and, while even she did not foresee David Cameron resigning in these circumstances (let alone the collapse of all other contenders), she is as ready as she will ever be. The question is whether that is anywhere near ready enough for the turbulent times ahead.

Tory grandee Ken Clarke’s unguarded remarks about her being a “bloody difficult woman” probably did May nothing but good with female voters – and she turned them to her own advantage at the last parliamentary hustings, promising that European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker would soon find out how “bloody difficult” she could be.

But even her friends concede Clarke has a point. “She can be a bugger,” says one otherwise admiring colleague succinctly. “Not easy to work with.” May fights her corner tigerishly and, unusually for a politician, she does not seem bothered about being liked.

It is typical of her take-me-or-leave-me approach that she anaged to win the support of almost two-thirds of her parliamentary colleagues despite refusing to bribe waverers with job offers. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian is a bit coy about welcoming Theresa May’s arrival in Downing Street, hence the headline: “Theresa May: unpredictable, moralistic, and heading to No 10.” But the URL for this article is more revealing: theresa-may-the-vicars-daughter-poised-to-pull-the-tories-and-the-country-from-the-abyss. As so is the sub-headline: She may lack a grand political vision, but in a time of national crisis, her calm consistency and sense of moral duty may be just what is called for.

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