Theresa May addresses nation as Prime Minister

Reporter:

James Preston

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New Prime Minister Theresa May said her Government would not be driven by the interests of the 'privileged few' as she made her first speech in the role this evening.

The Maidenhead MP addressed the nation in front of 10 Downing Street shortly after 6pm after being asked by the Queen to form a new Government at Buckingham Palace.

Mrs May spoke of her intention to create a 'bold and positive' role for the country as it enters Brexit negotiations and said she believes in a union between 'all of our citizens'.

Pledging to tackle injustice in society, she said her mission was to make a country that 'works for everyone' and spoke directly to those who we 'just managing' as she expressed a desire to give more 'control over your lives'.

She also promised to lead a 'one nation government' in the spirit of David Cameron.

Mrs May closed her speech by saying 'together we will build a better Britain' before entering Number 10 as Prime Minister for the first time.

Earlier in the day, David Cameron attended his last Prime Minister's Questions before heading to Buckingham Palace shortly before 5pm to tender his resignation.

Theresa May was then summoned to the palace to be invited to form a Government, and spent around 30 minutes with the Queen.

See live updates from the day here.

The speech in full:

I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government, and I accepted.

In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David’s leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s true legacy is not about the economy, but about social justice. From the introduction of same sex marriage, to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether, David Cameron has led a 'one nation' government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead. Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word unionist is very important to me.

It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it means something else that is just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from.

That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change. And I know because we’re Great Britain that 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.

That will be the mission of the Government I lead. And together, we will build a better Britain.

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