The interview making national headlines: Primer Minister Theresa May Q&A

Our Q&A from 2005 has been picked up by the Mail on Sunday, The Sun, The Mirror and the Telegraph!

That’s right, we’re making headlines again here at the helm of essentialsurrey.co.uk . This time, it’s the Q&A with PM May that we published in our August issue that is doing the rounds in the national papers — as a result of it being reprinted in the Mail on Sunday as one of its leading articles, ‘Good Queen Tess’, (p.3 of Sunday’s paper).

Describing Mrs May’s answers as ‘astonishingly candid’, the Mail reproduced the interview in full — taking great delight in calling her the ‘Ice Maiden of No 10.’

Yet what political editor Simon Walters didn’t actually state was that the Q&A dates back to a 2005 interview by Guardian columnist Rosanna Greenstreet (and editor of our Elmbridge and Kingston Magazine). It’s a detail that seems to have been overlooked by reports in the Mirror online, The Sun and The Telegraph too.

The interview — clearly undertaken at a time when the Maidenhead MP still had time on her hands — was published in our August issue (right) to coincide and commemorate Mrs May’s appointment to Prime Minister. One must ask, when will we ever get the chance for such an informal interview with Mrs May again?

As to the Mail’s take on PM May’s answers, we can only surmise that political editor Simon Walters was particularly taken with the revelation that our first lady admires Queen Elizabeth I — for accompanying the article was a photo of the tudor queen — superimposed with Mrs May’s head.

When asked with which historical figure she most identifies, Mrs May answered:

“Queen Elizabeth I — a woman who knew her own mind and achieved in a male environment. Remember her speech: “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the stomach of a king…”

PM May’s detractors have rather seized upon the remark, with the Mirror reporting that she has consequently been accused of having “delusions of grandeur” after likening herself to one of England’s greatest monarchs.

Poor Prime Minister May. It seems that she can’t even have her own role-model.

But rallying support for our prime minister were commentators Matthew Green and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown while discussing the Mail’s article on Sunday morning’s BBC News’ The Papers programme.

Along with presenter Lukwesa Burak, the reviewers were incredulous at the focus on PM May’s nose.

“We all know women judge themselves by the way we look,” said Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. “Would you ask Liam Fox what he dislikes most about his appearance?”

“I think you’d get a withering stare in reply,” mused Lukwesa.

Brave PM May for being game enough to answer the questions in the first place we say.

Windlesham resident Brian Blessed is another of our recent Windsor Magazine interviews who certainly didn’t shy away from answering what he dislikes about his appearance:

“I love myself,” he said. “I look like a cross between a yeti and King Kong.”

Enough said.

Read the full interview with PM May below.

Good Queen Tess — Mail on Sunday, 28 August 2016

Theresa May accused of ‘delusions of grandeur’ after comparing herself to Queen Elizabeth I, Mirror — Mirror online, 28 August 2016

Theresa May reveals her shoes are the ‘greatest love’ of her life and that she dislikes her nose — The Telegraph online, 28 August 2016

– GOLDEN ERA: Theresa May reveals she hates her nose and compares herself to Elizabeth I in an astonishingly candid interview — The Sun online, 28 August 2016

  • What is your favourite book?

A) I love detective novels, but if I had to pick one book, then it would be Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

  • Should the Royal Family be scrapped?

A) No. They bring this country enormous benefits.

  • For what cause would you die?

A) Freedom.

  • Do you believe in monogamy?

A) Yes.

  • What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A) What? Shoes. Who? My husband, Philip.

  • Have you ever said “I love you” without meaning it?

A) That’s a question no woman should answer.

  • Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A) ‘Actually’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘issues’, as in “Actually we need an appropriate response to the issues.”

  • What is your greatest regret?

A) Not letting my mother teach me to play the piano.

  • When and where were you happiest?

A) In church on my wedding day.

  • What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A) An extra 8 hours in the day.

  • What would your motto be?

A) Don’t let the ******** get you down.

  • Do you believe in life after death?

A) Yes I do. I am a vicar’s daughter and still a practising member of the Church of England.

  • How would you like to be remembered?

A) As somebody who made a difference.

  • What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

A) Always be true to yourself and be yourself.

  • What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A) Walking in the Alps in Switzerland with my husband.

  • What is your greatest fear?

A) Like Indiana Jones, I really don’t like snakes — although that might lead some to ask why I’m in politics!

  • With which historical figure do you most identify?

A) Queen Elizabeth I — a woman who knew her own mind and achieved in a male environment. Remember her speech: “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman but I have the stomach of a king.”

  • Which living person do you most admire?

A) I admire people who devote themselves to the care of others.

  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A) Being late all the time.

  • What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A) Conceit.

  • What has been your most embarrassing moment?

A) When I was at school they set up a debating society, and I was asked along as someone interested in politics. I picked a subject from the hat, turned to address the room and couldn’t think of a thing to say — I was silent!

  • What is your greatest extravagance?

A) Shoes, of course — and always having fresh flowers in the house.

  • Where would you like to live?

A) I love living where I do, in a beautiful Berkshire village.

  • What makes you depressed?

A) Not getting things done; and seeing people’s lives hurt by government bureaucracy.

  • What do you most dislike about your appearance?

A) My nose.

  • What is your favourite word?

A) Serendipity — I don’t use it much, if at all, but I like it as a word and I like the unexpected nature of what it stands for.

  • What is your favourite building?

A) I work in one of the best buildings in the country — the Houses of Parliament. It is so much more than just a building: it stands for our freedom and democracy.

  • What is your favourite journey?

A) The journey to go on holiday in the summer.

  • What is your favourite book?

A) I love detective novels, but if I had to pick one book, then it would be Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

  • Should the Royal Family be scrapped?

A) No. They bring this country enormous benefits.

  • For what cause would you die?

A) Freedom.

  • Do you believe in monogamy?

A) Yes.

  • What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A) What? Shoes. Who? My husband, Philip.

  • Have you ever said “I love you” without meaning it?

A) That’s a question no woman should answer.

  • Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A) ‘Actually’, ‘appropriate’ and ‘issues’, as in “Actually we need an appropriate response to the issues.”

  • What is your greatest regret?

A) Not letting my mother teach me to play the piano.

  • When and where were you happiest?

A) In church on my wedding day.

  • What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A) An extra 8 hours in the day.

  • What would your motto be?

A) Don’t let the ******** get you down.

  • Do you believe in life after death?

A) Yes I do. I am a vicar’s daughter and still a practising member of the Church of England.

  • How would you like to be remembered?

A) As somebody who made a difference.

  • What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

A) Always be true to yourself and be yourself.


An edited version of this Q&A first appeared in the Guardian and was conducted by Rosanna Greenstreet

If you enjoyed that interview then check out some of the other great local pieces we’ve done at essentialsurrey.co.uk

Like what you read? Give Essential Surrey & SW a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.