A few weeks ago, it seemed as though Theresa May’s government was about to enter a new chapter.
It had already been a tumultuous year, with the Conservative Party having lost its majority and the Labour Party becoming the third largest party in Parliament.
And yet, on the morning of 7 May, May was sworn in as Prime Minister.
She has been a rising star for some time now, but it was no secret that May had a long way to go.
She had been a relatively unknown figure at the start of the year.
It was a new era, she said during her first news conference as Prime Minster, as she looked to the British public for their feedback on her vision for the country.
“I’m here today because I believe we have a lot of work to do, and a lot to do well, to ensure that the UK is the best place to live, work and play in the world,” she said.
“We are a great country.
We have a proud history of welcoming people of all backgrounds, and we have made progress over the last few years.”
Her speech was full of optimism and she delivered a series of positive messages.
The PM promised to bring back the “golden rule”, which said people should be judged on their merits and not their colour.
“There are a lot more good people in the Conservative party than there were 10 years ago, and I want to be proud to be a part of that,” she continued.
“I want to work with my Conservative colleagues to create a Government that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”
May was not averse to a little bit of negative press.
She told the audience that “the good news is that our public service has done an incredible job” and that “I am confident that the Conservative government is the right one to take on the challenges that remain”.
But it was the promise to make the country “the best place” to live and work that was the most significant of May’s speeches.
The Prime Minister’s rhetoric is at odds with a long-standing Conservative Party policy of promoting equality, with a focus on bringing back the golden rule.
But her government has made strides to tackle discrimination and racism.
It has introduced an Anti-Discrimination Bill to criminalise discrimination against the LGBT community, and the Government is introducing legislation to decriminalise homosexuality.
May was also a champion of the LGBTI community, introducing a raft of anti-discrimination measures, including the Equality Act, in June.
But the Prime Minister did not mention race, class or gender, making the issue one of the biggest challenges facing the Conservative Government in her first year in office.
While she has made a point of stressing her commitment to tackling discrimination and prejudice, May’s message is more vague than that of previous Conservative Ministers.
May said she had “come to terms with” how “our country” has become “more diverse”, and that she was proud to stand up to “radical groups who seek to divide our society”.
However, the Prime Minstry has been criticised by activists for her refusal to hold a debate on race in the House of Commons.
The Conservative Party is currently at odds over whether or not to hold an “open debate” on race, which the party has argued would “undermine” the Prime Ministers position.
A debate has also been called for on race after the Conservative MP Stephen Byers was allegedly assaulted by a white nationalist, a charge which the MP has denied.
Byers has now been arrested for assaulting a Muslim man.
The Prime Minister’s response to the issue of race has also faced criticism.
May said she was “deeply sorry” for Byers’ “pain and distress”, and said that she wanted to “make clear that our community and our society have a diversity of values”.
“We all want to live in a country where everyone is valued and everyone can be successful, and that includes everyone,” she added.
This week, the government published a white paper on the subject, which it said “will be updated as we see evidence of the needs of our communities”.
May has also repeatedly said she wants to “protect” people who are vulnerable in the country, despite the recent murder of Jo Cox.
She has called on the British people to support the fight against anti-Muslim bigotry.
A number of other recent controversies have been also put to the test in May’s first year.
The Government is under pressure to publish an independent report into allegations of a child sex abuse ring in Birmingham.
In September, a judge ruled that the Government had failed to act on a claim by a former member of the National Union of Students that she should be given back her job over allegations of child sexual abuse.
A petition calling for the investigation to be reopened was started after a judge rejected the claim.
May has been facing criticism over the way she handled a string of scandals during her time as Home Secretary.
During the election campaign, the