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We didn't refer to male PMs as 'Mr Whatever' so why does everyone keep calling May 'Mrs May'?

(43 Posts)
bakedstrawberry Tue 12-Mar-19 19:03:53

I find it jarring.

araiwa Tue 12-Mar-19 19:06:05

Do they?

Never heard it

MissionItsPossible Tue 12-Mar-19 19:08:01

I noticed this and thought it was just me. Was Margaret referred to as Mrs Thatcher, I wonder?

starabara Tue 12-Mar-19 19:08:20

We did refer to them as Mr Blair etc?

HorseDoorBolted Tue 12-Mar-19 19:08:56

They do. Dave was called Mr Cameron lots.

But agree it’s more frequent, noticeable and jarring with May.

Alsohuman Tue 12-Mar-19 19:09:22

Margaret was always Mrs Thatcher. Until she went to the Lords.

M4J4 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:09:45

Yep, David Cameron was never Mr Cameron.

Maybe they want to make her sound twee.

starabara Tue 12-Mar-19 19:10:51

I think it’s only more noticable because she is currently being held as a lone wolf out on a limb.... the press are driving home the point of her as an isolated individual, hence more referral about “her” rather than “the government”.

starabara Tue 12-Mar-19 19:12:02


Of course they did!

starabara Tue 12-Mar-19 19:12:33

Just googling shows demonstrated press clippings.

IdblowJonSnow Tue 12-Mar-19 19:14:18

I can recall former male PMs being called Mr Whoever. Maybe it's partly because her surname is short so it gets added? Also think just calling someone by their surname only a bit rude irrespective of female/male.

M4J4 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:15:21

@starabara those articles are a month old, he's not PM anymore

LizzieBananas Tue 12-Mar-19 19:15:31

It’s makes sentences easier, prevents confusion with the month/word meaning might: eg

May deal to receive assent

PM May face legal challenge.

Grace212 Tue 12-Mar-19 19:16:25

I know what you mean OP

I noticed as soon as she became PM

I don't recall a male PM being referred to as "Mr Grace" quite so often. I'm not sure if it was that they were more likely to be called FirstName+Surname or PM Surname or just Surname?

can't rely on my memory at all grin

stillpinching Tue 12-Mar-19 19:17:11

All manner of male political types are referred to as Mr xxxx. Whatever else would they be called? What would you like her to be referred to as?? FFS...

bakedstrawberry Tue 12-Mar-19 19:17:18

I remember the PMs being called either FIRSTSURNAME or just SURNAME

SaucyJack Tue 12-Mar-19 19:17:37

TBF may is a word with a few meanings, so it possibly needs Mrs/Theresa sticking in front of it in some sentences to make it the meaning clear.

Cameron/Thatcher/Blair are all obviously the PM names when you read the m.

stillpinching Tue 12-Mar-19 19:18:35

Just surname, for either sex, would sound rude and aggressive. Pretty sure I've never heard that...

Akire Tue 12-Mar-19 19:19:59

On LBC radio one presenter calls her MS May as in she is like silly not conforming young woman going with MS not Miss. she is MRS anyway.

stillpinching Tue 12-Mar-19 19:20:59

On a news report it would begin " the prime minister Tony Blair has ...". Then later in the report it would continue "Mr Blair said the waiting times would be measured by...". I'm sure it's the same now.

HorseDoorBolted Tue 12-Mar-19 19:34:25

On LBC radio one presenter calls her MS May as in she is like silly not conforming young woman going with MS not Miss. she is MRS anyway

Wowser. I’m a 47 year old barrister who prefers to not be classified by her marital status. Or silly not conforming woman as you put it...

formerbabe Tue 12-Mar-19 19:36:37

I'm sure David Cameron was called Mr Cameron lots by the media.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 12-Mar-19 19:43:06

It's her preferred form of address, as with Mrs Thatcher. See her apology after addressing Emily Thornberry by her husband's surname and courtesy title, which Thornberry has not ever used.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 12-Mar-19 19:46:59

And male PMs were indeed Mr Cameron, Mr Blair etc

MillytantForceit Tue 12-Mar-19 19:50:47

The correct form is (Honorific) + (Surname) comma The Prime Minster.

The incorrect form is Prime Minister (Surname) because that implies there are lot of them.

There is only ever one Prime Minister, and you do not keep the title.

Frenchmontana Tue 12-Mar-19 19:51:02

I remember the PMs being called either FIRSTSURNAME or just SURNAME

That doesnt mean it doesnt happen. It means you don't remember it.

Maybe you are hyper aware as the PM is currently a woman. Just every PM has been referred to, regularly, as 'Mr blah'.

BridlingtonSand Tue 12-Mar-19 20:02:46

The correct form is (Honorific) + (Surname) comma The Prime Minster.

This. It’s the whole House of Commons thing. It really irritates me when Americans refer to “Prime Minister Surname”.

starabara Tue 12-Mar-19 20:08:24


*those articles are a month old, he's not PM anymore

Really? I hadn’t realised.

I clearly said it was a quick google. The point stands, we do refer to politicians as Title Surname.

planesinthesky Tue 12-Mar-19 20:15:54

Err, yes we do refer to male politicians as ‘Mr XYZ’. Here’s a random story I picked from the BBC News site today:

Anti-Semitism row: John McDonnell would welcome Labour probe
10 March 2019
Labour's John McDonnell has welcomed a potential investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in his party [...] On Friday, the chair of Labour peers wrote to party leader Mr Corbyn to express "alarm" at the "ongoing failure" to resolve the issue [...] Asked about the investigation, Mr McDonnell told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I'm hoping we will get a clean bill of health about how we are handling things. [...] The Sunday Times has reported claims that two of Mr Corbyn's closest aides had intervened in the party's disciplinary processes to lift the suspension of an activist accused of anti-Semitism.

I’m just looking at the top political story on the Mail Online right now and it also refers to Mr Corbyn, Mr Rees-Mogg, Mr Cox, Mr Juncker, Mr Barclay and Mr Boles.

ScreamingValenta Tue 12-Mar-19 20:18:09

I remember male PMs being referred to as Mr Surname; other male politicians still are - here's a reference to the leader of the opposition - from a BBC News Article of 03.03.2019

"A man has been arrested after an egg was thrown at Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in north London.
It happened as Mr Corbyn was visiting a mosque in Seven Sisters Road, not far from where the MP lives, just before 16:00 GMT on Sunday.
The Metropolitan Police said a 41-year-old man was "quickly detained by officers on scene" and arrested on suspicion of assault.
The man is in custody at a north London police station, the force said.
Mr Corbyn had been visiting the Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House to coincide with Visit My Mosque Day."

ssd Tue 12-Mar-19 20:19:03

I only remember Cameron Blair etc being called their given names

I hate they use Mrs

longwayoff Tue 12-Mar-19 20:41:27

We used to call that being polite.

AliceAforethought Tue 12-Mar-19 20:58:26

I recall male prime ministers being called full name at beginning of news story (or whatever) then Mr Surname thereafter.

I don’t think Theresa May is being treated differently at all.

AliceAforethought Tue 12-Mar-19 20:59:29

By full name I mean first name +. Surname, not actual full name!

beclev24 Tue 12-Mar-19 21:00:49

It should be Ms May ffs. We live in the US where Ms is the norm and carries no stigma. Mrs is sexist bullshit in a professional capacity

ItsMsAtomicBobToYou Tue 12-Mar-19 21:01:57

That's house style. It varies from publication to publication so for some Prime Minister Theresa May at first reference, Mrs May thereafter (or David Cameron /Mr Cameron) for some. Others just use last names.

Not sexism, just publication style. They all have a style book.

Pinkruler Tue 12-Mar-19 21:02:56

I've heard her referred to as Theresa May quite a lot (by formal newscasters), whereas am pretty sure Mrs Thatcher was always referred to as Mrs and not Margaret Thatcher .

Klopptimist Tue 12-Mar-19 21:20:37

When TM first became PM, it didn't half throw me when newsreaders referred to "May and Hammond". I kept wondering where Clarkson was.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 12-Mar-19 21:23:48

* It should be Ms May ffs. We live in the US where Ms is the norm and carries no stigma. Mrs is sexist bullshit in a professional capacity* I'm a Ms myself but I LOATHE U.S. newspapers' imposition of it even when women style themselves differently. Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world and has NEVER referred to herself as Ms, but yeah, some sub-editor who's never left New Jersey knows better. It's so sexist and patronising - and of course it's only women who are disrespected in this way.

Generally speaking I think titles are obsolete and should be avoided - so Prime MinisterTheresa May on first reference and May thereafter.

Thymeout Tue 12-Mar-19 21:25:50

Schnitzel - I think it was Boris who called Emily Thornberry by her married name, Lady XXX. The Speaker made him apologise.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 12-Mar-19 21:33:35

Boris might have done as well but May had to apologise (rather gracelessly) in parliament

starabara Wed 13-Mar-19 10:28:55

^^ Bercow made Johnson apologise because he referred to her by the title of her spouse and was very dismissive of it...

DGRossetti Wed 13-Mar-19 10:30:31

Maybe somebody asked her ?

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