Theresa May

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The Home Secretary, Theresa May, is centre stage as she deals with the aftermath of riots across England which have shocked the country and led to the recall of Parliament. The police are under scrutiny for their tactics and performance in London particularly, with reported tensions arising between the Home Secretary and the Met Commissioner.

May is a politician who's not afraid to challenge the existing order - and speak the unspeakable. Last year, she told the police that they need to cut their spending and re-organise the way they work. As the chair of the Conservatives in the early 2000s, she said the party was perceived by the public as the "nasty party." It was a start of the rebranding of the Conservatives.

The daughter of a clergyman, she attended an independent convent and a number of state schools before going to Oxford. After graduating, she joined the City - working for a time at the Bank of England. She took the hard route into politics - starting off stuffing envelopes in a constituency office before being elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Merton where she spent the best part of a decade.

She has a reputation for being focussed on the job and having a Thatcheresque work ethic with few outside interests. Simon Cox profiles Theresa May, one of only four women to hold the key offices in British politics.

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14 minutes

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Sun 14 Aug 2011 17:40

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