Three tumultuous years at 10 Downing Street

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May jiving to Abba's Dancing Queen as she arrived for the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham last October. PHOTO: REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May jiving to Abba's Dancing Queen as she arrived for the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham last October. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mrs Theresa May announced yesterday she would step down after nearly three years as British Prime Minister, defeated by her inability to deliver Brexit. Here are the highlights of her tumultuous time in office:

July 13, 2016

In her first speech as Prime Minister, Mrs May appears in Downing Street, pledging to fight the "burning injustices" that hold people back. She promises "a country that works for everyone", but will in fact find herself spending much of her time struggling with Brexit.

Jan 18, 2017

A triumphant Mrs May is portrayed on the front page of the Daily Mail next to the headline "Steel of the New Iron Lady". She has just given a defiant speech, telling Brussels: "No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain."

May 22, 2017

Mrs May is forced to backtrack on an election pledge to force the elderly to pay more for care after her opinion poll lead fell by half. "Nothing has changed," she says to general incredulity.

June 8, 2017

Despite an opinion poll lead, Mrs May loses her parliamentary majority in a general election. Despite repeated promises of a "strong and stable" government, her authority is in tatters.

Oct 3, 2017

Mrs May's big speech to the Conservative Party conference is interrupted by repeated coughing fits, a prankster, and even letters of her slogan falling off the stage scenery. As a bid to reassert herself, the speech had limited success.

 

Oct 3, 2018

Mrs May startles the audience at the Conservative Party conference when she appears on stage for a speech jigging to Abba's Dancing Queen. It was apparently a self-deprecating reference to her dancing during a recent visit to Africa, but she was nonetheless widely mocked.

Dec 14, 2018

A furious Mrs May is embroiled in a public row with Mr Jean-Claude Juncker at a Brussels summit after the EU chief publicly called Britain's Brexit demands "nebulous" and "vague".

Jan 19, 2019

Lawmakers vote down Mrs May's Brexit divorce deal by the crushing margin of 432 to 202, the worst such defeat in modern British history. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn calls a vote of no-confidence, which Mrs May survives.

May 21, 2019

In a last roll of the dice, Mrs May promises a "new deal" on Brexit. It is immediately rejected by large numbers of Conservative lawmakers and the opposition Labour Party.

May 24, 2019

Mrs May announces she will quit on June 7. REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'Three tumultuous years at 10 Downing Street'. Print Edition | Subscribe