New PM pledges to work for everyone
May lays down gauntlet to SNP with defence of union
Theresa May, the new Prime Minister, tonight issued an uncompromising message to Nicola Sturgeon, stating in her first speech outside Downing Street that she believed firmly in the “precious bond” of the union.
Just minutes after accepting office from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, Mrs May noted that the “full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist party”.
She said: “The word Unionist is very important to me. We believe in the union and the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
Her comments on the union will be seen as a direct message to Scotland’s First Minister that she has no intention of sanctioning a second referendum on independence.
In her address she made a clear commitment to follow David Cameron’s legacy of delivering on social justice.
She said she was following in the footsteps of a “great, modern Prime Minister” who had stabilised the economy and reduced the budget deficit but whose legacy was to tackle low wages, introduce same sex marriage and take more people out of paying income tax.
“It is in that spirit that I plan to lead,” said Mrs May.
She said she believed not just in a union of the nations of the United Kingdom but in a union of people, “whoever we are and wherever we are from”.
She repeated her comments from earlier in the week about disadvantaged groups and today said she wanted to help those who were “just managing”.
On the Brexit talks she said she will forge “a bold, new positive role for ourselves in the world.”
On Monday she spoke about bridging the pay gap, starting with excess salaries paid to boardroom executives.
Mrs May is expected to reveal her key Cabinet ministers by the end of the week with some of the most senior positions likely to be announced tomorrow (Thursday).