Looking back at Theresa May’s first year in office as UK prime minister

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Looking back at Theresa May’s first year in office as UK prime minister

Theresa May
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A lot can happen in a year, and that's certainly been the case for Britain and its Prime Minister Theresa May.

On Thursday, May will mark the start of her second year as leader of the country, a position which requires the British incumbent to safely navigate the country through its divorce proceedings with the European Union.

From strengthening ties with allies overseas, to triggering Article 50 and tackling local issues; CNBC takes a look back at what has happened during May's first year as U.K. prime minister.

  • Building a 'better Britain'

    Around two weeks after announcing her candidacy, May was sworn in and appointed as the second female prime minister of Britain, tasked with the job of handling Brexit negotiations and leading the country.

    "As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us," said May after she was made prime minister.

    "That will be the mission of the government I lead, and together we will build a better Britain."

    Newly appointed Prime Minister Theresa May with her husband Philip arrives to take up residence in 10 Downing Street on July 13, 2016 in London, England.
    Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News | Getty Images
  • Tensions appear with the EU

    Since the EU referendum outcome, May and the U.K. government have explored different strategies in order to seek a new relationship with the political-economic bloc.

    When Article 50 was triggered in March, the U.K. said in the letter that it wanted to "make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values"; however, tensions between the two sides still remain.

    Throughout the Brexit process, EU leaders have said that there must be no "cherry picking" parts of the European Union membership. Europe has also requested for more clarity and details about the U.K.'s decision to leave, as uncertainty in the British political sphere continues to resurface.

    (From L) French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May talk as they attend an European Union leaders summit, on June 22, 2017, at the European Council in Brussels.
    EMMANUEL DUNAND | AFP | Getty Images
  • Staying strong in times of trouble

    The past year has not been an easy one for Britain. On top of dealing with division inside the U.K.'s own four nations, citizens have been looking to May for guidance and strength in times of national struggle.

    In 2017 alone, Britain has seen four terror attacks – Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park - which has seen the U.K.'s terror threat level raised to its highest level of "critical" during recent months. Its current level is "severe".

    In addition, days after the snap election in June 2017, a fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower block in London, killing more than 70 people. The tragedy led to a public inquiry being issued into the matter, however, May went on to apologize for the "failure of the state, local and national" when it came to handling the fire and offering enough support in the early hours of the disaster.

    Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, leaves number 10 Downing Street to make a statement on the terror attack in London, U.K., on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
    Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • US and UK: A 'special relationship'

    A week after the inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump as U.S. president, May traveled to the States and became the first foreign head of state to visit the White House with Trump as incumbent.

    During the meeting, the leaders discussed foreign policy, deepening intelligence and security cooperation, and trade.

    "The United States renews our deep bond with Britain – military, financial, cultural, and political – we have one of the great bonds. We pledge our lasting support to this most special relationship," said Trump in January.

    "Together, America and the United Kingdom are a beacon for prosperity and the rule of law."

    British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks as President Donald Trump looks on in a joint press conference at the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.
    Getty Images
  • May aims to strengthen the Conservatives hand

    When throwing her hat in the ring for leader of the Conservatives in 2016, May said there "should be no general election until 2020". Less than a year later, however, the U.K. prime minister "reluctantly" called for a snap election as it was the only way to "guarantee certainty and stability" for the years ahead.

    On April 19, members of parliament (MPs) approved a motion for an early election, with 522 voting in favor compared to the 13 MPs who disagreed.

    A newspaper stand shows a copy of today's Evening Standard, with the front page story relating to British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap general election on June 8, in central London on April 18, 2017.
    DANIEL SORABJI | AFP | Getty Images
  • Theresa May sets out offer for EU citizens

    About a year after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, the prime minister laid out what she called a "fair" deal for EU citizens living in the U.K., stating that she didn't want to split up families or for people to have to leave because of Brexit.

    At the European Council meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this was a good start, yet added that many questions still remain when it comes to negotiations.

    In July however, Chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt and leaders of four of the parliament's main groups wrote in a joint letter that the U.K.'s proposals for the 3 million EU citizens who expect to stay in Britain after Brexit "fall short" of what they are entitled to, and what U.K. nationals are being presented in the EU.

    Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, speaks during a news conference at the European Union (EU) leaders summit at the Europa building in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, June 23, 2017.
    Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • May's future called into question

    After May called a snap election in April, many believed the Conservative party would secure a stronger majority in parliament following the vote in June.

    On June 9, however, the picture became less clear as the election resulted in a hung parliament, meaning the future of Theresa May's leadership and Brexit negotiations were thrown into doubt.

    Prime Minister Theresa May, accompanied by her husband Philip, making a statement in Downing Street after she traveled to Buckingham Palace for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II following the General Election results.
    Jonathan Brady/PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images
  • Conservatives and DUP strike a deal

    Following a hung parliament outcome in the snap election this June, Theresa May assured the public that she would secure a government by striking a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, a party based in Northern Ireland.

    Negotiations between the two political parties began on June 9, the day the election results came in, and involved several discussions until a "Confidence and Supply Agreement" was signed and published on June 26.

    Prime Minister Theresa May (2R) stands with First Secretary of State Damian Green (R), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster (2L), DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds (L), as DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson (3L) shakes hands with Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson, inside 10 Downing Street on June 26, 2017 in London, England.
    Daniel Leal-Olivas/WPA Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images
  • Repeal bill in focus

    On Thursday, one year after Theresa May took on the leadership role; the U.K. government is expected to present a draft bill that could impact all sorts of laws that have governed Britain for over 4 decades: the so-called Repeal Bill.

    The bill is set to be a huge piece of legislation, which is expected to reverse the 1972 European Communities Act, a piece of legislation which made EU law effective in the country. The bill is set to be debated later on this year and will need to be passed by Parliament, however, debates and challenges are set to arise from other political parties.

    The Union Flag flies near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 7, 2017.
    Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters