Britain’s former interior minister Theresa May became prime minister on Wednesday, promising to champion social justice and rise to the challenge of leading the country out of the European Union.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after being appointed by the Queen, May, 59 said it would be her mission to “build a better Britain”.
“We will rise to the challenge. As we leave the European Union we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us,” she said.
Her predecessor, David Cameron stepped down after Britons rejected his entreaties to stay in the EU following the historic referendum which he lost last month.
May must now try to limit the damage to British trade and investment as she renegotiates the country’s ties with its 27 EU partners.
She will also attempt to unite her divided Conservative party and a fractured nation in which many, on the evidence of the vote, feel angry with the political elite and left behind by the forces of globalization.
Acknowledging the struggles faced by many people, May declared: “The government I lead will be driven not be the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.”
Shortly afterwards, May’s office announced that she had appointed Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who led the Brexit campaign as foreign secretary in her new government.
He replaces Philip Hammond, who becomes the new chancellor. Ex-Energy Secretary Amber Rudd is home secretary and Eurosceptic David Davis was named the Brexit minister.