He takes the garbage out, she cooks at weekends and work never enters the bedroom – British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip offered a glimpse of their private lives in a television interview on Tuesday. In the run up to her first election as prime minister, May is trying almost every tack to win the votes she says she needs to strengthen her hand in divorce negotiations with the European Union and cement her standing as Britain’s leader. After days of factory visits and Conservative Party rallies, May, sometimes uncomfortably, took on the primetime television ‘sofa chat’, answering questions ranging from how she fell in love with Philip to what made her call an election for June 8.
Asked how they split their tasks at home, Philip told the BBC’s One Show: “There’s give and take in every marriage isn’t there? I get to decide when I’ll take the bins out or if I’ll take the bins out.”
“I definitely do the taking the bins out, I do the traditional boy jobs by and large,” he said, although now she is working so hard he sometimes makes the ‘tea’, or dinner.
“Theresa is a very good cook,” he said, although she replied that since becoming prime minister her enjoyment of creating dishes was now confined largely to the weekends.
Philip May, a British investment relationship manager and a year younger than his 60-year-old wife, has been a quiet partner to May since she was appointed prime minister shortly after Britain voted to leave the European Union last June.
Little more is known publicly about their relationship than that they met at university and shortly afterwards got married.
Asked whether he was immediately attracted to May, he said: “Absolutely. It was love at first sight.”
May agreed, with a “likewise”.
And whether her red box, a traditional briefcase ministers use to hold official documents, ever made it into the bedroom? Philip replied: “I don’t think it’s ever made an appearance in the bedroom. I’ve never had to try and sort of … shoo it out.”
With the couple sitting side by side on a sofa, it was a clear attempt by her to reach more voters, some of whom may not tune into news programmes which are dominated by coverage of the election campaign and Britain’s Brexit talks.
And it was a rare glimpse into May’s personal life, starting with her childhood as the daughter of a vicar, through her almost 37 years of marriage, to walking for the first time into the official Downing Street residence.
Although several answers echoed her speeches on the campaign trail, she offered some insight into what motivates her, denying she had spent most of her life wanting to be prime minister.
“For me it’s always been about making a difference because politics is about people and it’s about improving people’s lives … doing things that really will help people to get on and have a better future,” she said.
“It absolutely dawns on you when you are walking through the door of number 10 for the first time in that role and it’s a huge privilege but you also actually feel a huge responsibility.”