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Academics respond to Theresa Mays appointment as Prime Minister

Academics from across our University have commented on Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, following David Cameron's resignation from the position.

Dr Robert Dover from the Department of Politics and International Relations said: "The selection of Theresa May for leader of the Conservative Party and so the new Prime Minister is potentially a very smart choice both for the Party and for the Country. Mrs May has a strong reputation as a tough and careful negotiator, which is exactly the right mix for the impending Brexit negotiations with fellow EU heads of Member State.

"The prospect of negotiations between Mrs May and Mrs Merkel are substantially more encouraging than between Merkel and Boris Johnson or any of the other Brexit leaders in the UK. Mrs May was a very discreet campaigner for Remain, and has undoubtedly reaped her reward for this understated approach. The Brexiteers have knocked each other out, whilst she watched patiently from the side allowing them to make their mistakes.

"Mrs May's elevation is significant for its gender dimension. As the second female Prime Minister many will watch to see if she makes any moves towards a parity cabinet or towards the fuller substantive representation of women in British politics. Mrs Thatcher was poor in this regard, but Mrs May has the perfect opportunity to make these advancements."

Dr Jilly Boyce Kay from the Department of Media and Communication and Media and Gender group discussed the Conservative Party leadership contest and inspirational women on BBC Radio Leicester on 6 July. During the interview she said:

"We need to be careful when we consider the different approach women might bring to politics. Women come from a huge range of different political perspectives, so we can’t just assume that because we’re having more women becoming visible that they’re all going to be bringing the same kind of approach and that they will necessarily makes things different or have different kind of policies to men.”

Dr Kay also wrote an opinion piece for Think: Leicester, discussing if the fact that our next Prime Minister will be a woman and if this will be a step forward for gender politics.

She said: "When we ask whether May’s new position at the pinnacle of British political life is empowering for women, we need to consider which particular women we are talking about. For women with disabilities whose benefits have been cut because of policies that she voted for; for migrant women who were subjected to the ‘Go Home’ billboard vans that she oversaw; for feminists who do not simply want to see women rising to the top of a system that is predicated on inequality, but who want to change the system itself – May’s new position of power is hardly a cause for celebration."

If you are an academic/doctoral student at the University and would like to comment on Theresa May's appointment as PM, contact the Press Office on ap507@le.ac.uk

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