Nevena Bridgen visiting Theresa May

The phones in the House of Bridgen were ringing around the clock and everyone wanted to hear when and if the premiership of Theresa May had come to an end.

‘The Prime Minister has finally resigned’, read the text message from my husband flashing on my phone. I looked at the screen, feeling an instant relief that this political chapter was finally over, but also, with it, a dose of sadness.

It is publically known that my husband was an opponent of Theresa May since the Chequers proposal. He did not have confidence in the Prime Minister and he made that clear on more than one occasion. Until the end of her tenure, he did not change his opinion the way many of his colleagues did, going back and forth in political calculations. Someone would say that this is politics, but I would say it is basic integrity.

The pressure and frustration around this topic were visible and present in our lives, especially through the whole week before Prime Minister May resigned. The phones were ringing around the clock and everyone wanted to know when and if the premiership of the second female Prime Minister in Britain had come to an end.

Once my husband confirmed that May will resign, I felt relief from a tension that was building up for months on end both in Britain and in our private lives. I think it was an honorable act on the PM’s behalf to step down if there was no way forward, but I also felt sadness for Theresa May as a fellow woman and for the next generation of female Prime ministers.

Are we going to have a female Prime Minister again? I don’t think we’ll soon have. I guess that we should all be proud of the fact that the Conservative party gave two female Prime ministers in the history of British politics, while America hasn’t broken that ceiling yet.

I have huge respect for the position of the Prime Minister and for having a woman in that position for only the second time in history. Handling that role was a big step forward for women’s position in society. However, we are still in low digits for females assuming positions of high power.

Nevena Bridgen at Chequers

The Chequers

I first met Theresa May in Chequers, when she organized with her husband, Philip May, a reception for a selected group of MP’s. I was pleasantly surprised that she came across in our conversation much softer and more relaxed than what I expected her to be. She was an exquisite host, even an understated one, open and pleasant to all her guests. Nothing about her seemed hierarchical toward any of us, the way she conducted herself in a private setting was kind, warm and elegant. We had a chat on the importance of female politicians in parliament and I expressed my admiration for her doing such a complex and hard job as a woman in a predominantly men’s world.

As political developments unfolded in front of our eyes, I can not say I agreed with the way she handled the negotiations. I can not say I fully agreed with her politics but I also witnessed with the rest of Britain, this most resilient woman always surviving the toughest moments in her professional life. It was fascinating to see those survival skills in action.

nevena bridgen

It takes great emotional strength and strategy to meet over and over again your political opponents from the same party, including those across the party lines and try to work with them and find common ground –  though she knew they all wanted to see the end of her premiership. That’s tough. Who wants to work in such an environment? But she did, the best she could. She gave her all like she said she did. Unfortunately, it was not enough.

It remains to be seen how the next Prime Minister, who I assume will be a male, will handle the most complex political situation in the history of the United Kingdom since Churchill. Only time will tell how the second female Prime Minister will be remembered in the most challenging times in modern-day Britain. I bet the next Prime Minister is in for a bumpy ride.  Fasten your seatbelts. The contest has begun, who will you put your money on?

Nevena Bridgen
Nevena Bridgen

Founder

Nevena Bridgen is the Founder of The Wives of Westminster. She is an opera singer and a wife of MP Andrew Bridgen.

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