Theresa May: We will build a better Britain
Theresa May tonight made a pitch for the political centre ground as she vowed to "build a better Britain" as Prime Minister.
Addressing the nation on the steps of Number 10, she vowed to stand up for the many against "the privileged few" and railed against the inequality which holds back the most disadvantaged in society.
In a clear message to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who is preparing the ground for a second independence referendum, Mrs May also promised to "maintain the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland".
Speaking after accepting the Queen's invitation to form a new government, the former Home Secretary said: "We believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens - every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from.
"That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white.
"If you’re a white working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately.
"If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home."
Addressing ordinary voters directly, she added: "I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.
"The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.
"When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.
"When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you."
The new Prime Minister said her government "will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world" after Brexit.
With her husband Philip looking on, she added: "We will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.
"That will be the mission of the Government I lead. And together, we will build a better Britain."
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said Mrs May would be judged by her actions rather than her "warm words".
He said: "The sentiments are good ones but just like her predecessor the rhetoric is much better than the reality. The truth is Theresa May has been at the heart of the Tory government for the last six years and is tied to its record.
"It’s a record of failing to stand up to for working people and backing policies that are putting vital public services like the NHS at risk.
"The Labour party will continue to hold this failing Government to account and push for a fairer alternative – that is what the country deserves.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: "Theresa May campaigned, like me, for Remain, but has now set a course to take Britain out of Europe.
"I still firmly believe we should be at the heart of Europe – we are richer and safer working together. She must do everything she can to ensure the United Kingdom thrives in its changed circumstances.
“She also has a job of work to reunite a country that has been split by this referendum campaign.
“I look forward to providing the strong, unified opposition to Theresa May’s new government in both the Commons and the Lords.”