In the final weeks of her premiership, as she has considered life after Downing Street, Theresa May sought out the only people who could reasonably give her advice: her predecessors. The outgoing British Prime Minister reached out to David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair to discuss life after office, officials told The Atlantic.
The revelation sheds new light on the prime minister’s mind-set as she faces up to the reality of her life outside the trappings of office as a member of the exclusive club of ex–prime ministers, currently inhabited by just four living individuals. (May also spoke to John Major, the Conservative prime minister from 1990 to 1997, though only on the sidelines of a cricket reception, the two officials said.)
The reality of May’s new situation, even if she has taken steps to prepare herself, is likely to come as a shock, according to those who know her or have seen former prime ministers adjust to their new life outside 10 Downing Street. As prime minister and, before that, home secretary, May has not had to regularly use a computer for nine years; her official car will be withdrawn, and her security detail dramatically curtailed.
Everyone knows what happens before a prime minister leaves Downing Street, after all. What’s less clear, however, is what happens after.
When May, who succeeded Cameron as prime minister in July 2016, steps down today to make way for her successor, Boris Johnson, she will do so as Britain’s second female prime minister, as well as one of its shortest-serving leaders in decades. Her premiership will be defined not by those metrics, though, but by what she failed to do: deliver Brexit.