Theresa May: What happens when you stop being prime minister?

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Theresa May


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One day you’re the prime minister, the next day, you’re not.

Boris Johnson is taking over as prime minister from Theresa May after winning the Conservative leadership race.

She’s been kept pretty busy over the last few years with meetings to attend, paperwork to sign and running an entire country.

So what happens when it all suddenly stops?

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The Queen has to accept Theresa May’s resignation

On the day

Theresa May’s last day will involve one final round of prime minister’s questions in parliament then a meeting with royalty.

Despite announcing her plans to resign in May, she still has to officially resign by meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

If she’s lucky, she will be given a personal gift by the Queen. Former PM Gordon Brown and his family got a signed photograph.

Free time

What might Theresa May do immediately after that? She could follow the lead of a few former prime ministers.

We know sleeping is an option after Gordon Brown revealed on David Tennant’s podcast that “you’re very tired so you sleep for a bit”.

Or, being a cricket lover, she could do what former Prime Minister John Major did on the day he left office.

He said it was “time for lunch and some cricket” as he went to the Oval to watch Surrey.

And luckily for Theresa May, there is a game on – England are taking on Ireland in a Test match at Lord’s.

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Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown says leaving office is a big change

Where’s home?

Imagine losing your job AND your house on the same day.

“It’s pretty dramatic,” says Gordon Brown.

“In Britain, when you go, you not only lose the title, but you lose the house overnight and any ability to present yourself as something.”

Theresa May has spent three years living in Downing Street, welcoming the biggest politicians in the world, such as Donald Trump and Jacinda Ardern.

She’s also had access to Chequers – a luxury country estate where a prime minister usually goes to chill out.

These places will no longer be there for her to use and she’ll have to move her things back to her home in Maidenhead.

Back to normality?

We all see the police officers who follow the prime minister around and provide security.

But what happens after you give up the top job?

Previous prime ministers such as Tony Blair and David Cameron continue to receive security, so it’s likely it will be the same with Theresa May.

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A prime minister gets lots of police protection

But that isn’t always a good thing. Former Home Secretary Lord Douglas Hurd says your security “expects to know what you’re going to be doing all of the time”.

And let’s not forget that as prime minister, there is a big support system of secretaries, clerks and IT specialists who take care of everything when you are in the top job.

However they will be staying in Downing Street with their new boss, Boris Johnson. That means Theresa May will have to go back to doing everyday tasks such as calling people and writing letters herself.

Although if she stays on as an MP she will still have assistants to support her.

And her husband, Philip, will still probably be taking out the bins.

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The prime minister gets driven around in a Jaguar

The luxury

You might remember that the prime minister has a nice official chauffeur-driven government car to take them around the country.

As all former prime ministers are also entitled to one, you’ll probably continue to see Theresa May being driven around in a large Jaguar.

But what about travelling around the world?

There’s a massive RAF plane that takes the prime minister abroad to conduct important business, such as Brexit negotiations in Brussels.

Unfortunately, she won’t be able to continue using it so will have to take commercial flights like the rest of us.

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Theresa May regularly watches cricket

What next?

Theresa May could continue serving as the MP for Maidenhead, which would bring her a salary of £79,468 per year.

She could also write a book, something her predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have done.

Or, she might choose to leave politics all together and spend her time watching cricket.

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