Louise Mensch: Theresa May as PM Will See Brexit and Women Triumph

Theresa May
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May speaks during her Conservative party leadership campaign in Birmingham, England, Britain July 11. Andrew Yates TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY/Reuters

Theresa May is Britain's second woman prime minister. This is a hugely significant development in the politics of the West. All of a sudden, the halls of power are starting to look like Season 6 of 'Game of Thrones'—from nowhere, unlikely women are surging to positions of authority.

May was the last candidate that I wanted, and yet her premiership does not unduly worry me. Britain's home secretary campaigned, quietly, to Remain in the EU; David Cameron resigned his post as prime minister so that Britain could have a Leaver as PM. Yet a series of blunders, most particularly by Michael Gove, left a short, ill-tempered campaign in ruins for the Vote Leave backers, and May uncontested as PM.

However, while the figureheads of the campaign tripped themselves up, their cause—Brexit—triumphed. And Theresa May represents a politics that is particularly Conservative and pragmatic. "Brexit is Brexit," she said as she launched her campaign, promising to respect the will of the people. As a Remain supporter, she is not tied to any of the promises Vote Leave made during the campaign. The only thing May has to do—and swore again, as she was crowned the uncontested winner of the contest—is actually leave the European Union. That was the question on Britain's ballot paper.

This leaves it open to May to accept the deal that David Cameron could not coax out of Jean Claude Juncker—freedom of movement with an emergency brake and participation in the single market. Should Juncker refuse the emergency brake, however, do not be surprised if May is tougher than Cameron. She also said that the mandate did clearly command her not to accept free movement as it stands—that is, without a brake on numbers.

Meanwhile, there is the importance of symbolism. Theresa May is a no-nonsense handbag-wielder, indeed, she has a rather authoritarian streak and was to the right of her rival Andrea Leadsom. She will face another strong woman leader, Angela Merkel, who has undercut the EU Commission by appointing her own team of negotiators to represent nation states. Without German approval, the EU Commission can do nothing. On the opposite side of the Atlantic, Hillary Clinton will get a boost—Theresa May will be installed as prime minister before the Republican convention; her solemn, sensible, clever politics will offer an obvious foil to Donald Trump's bombast, and the novelty of a second woman PM will steal some Trump spotlight. Hillary and Theresa—and Angela—will look like the grown-ups in the room. Donald Trump will look like a whiny child whom mommy should send to his room before he draws on the walls with crayons again.

As Beyoncé said—"Who Run the World? Girls."

American women voters may finally look at Hillary Clinton in a new light. Tying herself to Lena Dunham and Gloria Steinem was wrong, but Hillary has amazingly failed to capitalize on the fact that America has never had a woman president. Barack Obama's "Yes, We Can" slogan brilliantly reached across racial barriers to the pride of defeating racism with an African-American president. Yet the country that was founded on the principle that 'all men are created equal' has not yet allowed a woman to take the lead. As May reminds Americans of Margaret Thatcher, the most beloved of all foreign leaders, Hillary Clinton can only benefit.

The Roman empire was once run by a triumvirate—three man leadership. With Theresa May controlling the U.K., as a sovereign state, unlike Germany, part of the pooled-sovereignty EU, she is likely, briefly, to be the most powerful woman in the world—until the American people duly elect their first Madam President.

Theresa May was not my candidate. But she is an important feminist leader, who founded Women2Win to get more women candidates into the Conservative Party as MPs. I and all other Conservatives will now rally behind her as the second woman prime minister. In the UK, she is already having a "halo" effect. Angela Eagle is challenging to lead the UK's leftist opposition party; Nicola Sturgeon is the first minister of a devolved Scotland. Women truly run the UK—and Hillary Clinton will shortly ensure that they run the rest of the world, too.

In short, as Theresa May heads to see our hereditary, female head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, to assume office, Britain can happily say: I'm With Her.

Louise Mensch is the editor of Heat Street and a former Conservative MP.