Ex-British leader Theresa May opts for cricket over PM Boris Johnson's maiden speech

Britain's former prime minister Theresa May was joined by Conservative colleagues David Gauke (top right) and Greg Clark (top left), who left their respective roles as justice and business secretaries during a brutal Cabinet reshuffle. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Former British prime minister Theresa May skipped seeing her successor fire up Conservative MPs on Thursday (July 25) and instead spent her first day out of office enjoying one of her favourite pastimes: cricket.

Mrs May, who remains a Conservative MP, was spotted at Lord's cricket ground watching England take on Ireland - just as Mr Boris Johnson was making his maiden address in Parliament as the new prime minister.

Mr Johnson replaced Mrs May as premier on Wednesday, bringing to an end her crisis-plagued three-year tenure that will likely be best remembered for her failure to deliver Brexit.

Britain's second female leader, labelled the "zombie prime minister" by one columnist for her ability to stagger on despite multiple attacks, had appeared visibly drained in recent months by her fraught time in Downing Street.

But on Thursday, she could be seen enjoying the comforts of the hospitality section at the spiritual home of cricket in north-west London, as England began to recover from a first-innings collapse against Ireland in the first-ever Test match between the two sides.

Under blisteringly hot sunshine - that forecasters said could approach Britain's all-time temperature record - Mrs May was all smiles as she was handed a drink garnished with a lemon slice in a shaded area of the famous ground.

A self-professed cricket lover, she attended England's dramatic World Cup final victory earlier this month and hosted the victorious men's team at a Downing Street reception.

She was joined on Thursday by Conservative colleagues David Gauke and Greg Clark, who left their respective roles as justice and business secretaries during a brutal Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday by Mr Johnson.

All three will be joining more than a dozen other members of Mrs May's disbanded Cabinet now out of government and taking their places on the backbenches in Parliament - where they could prove problematic for the new leader.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson was in typically bombastic mode during a first raucous and lengthy session in the House of Commons, in which he was repeatedly shouted at by opposing MPs and rallied Conservatives by vowing to get Brexit done.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.