Theresa May recounts ‘sticky tape’ moment during flight

By Aya Batrawy, Associated Press

Theresa May has told how she once had to undress in the cockpit during a flight when she was prime minister.

Mrs May told an audience of mostly women at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai how she was on a flight heading to a dinner when she had to change into evening attire.

The former prime minister was told not to worry by staff, despite there being no changing facilities on board.

Mrs May said she had to undress behind some pilots in a cockpit (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

She said: “They took up me into the cockpit, there with two pilots, and I’m thinking ‘really?’

“A chap comes along with sticky tape and a sheet, and he stuck it up behind the pilots and says: ‘There you go, you can change behind that’.”

Mrs May also said there was “a huge emphasis on the men sort of drinking together and getting together into groups” when she first entered the House of Commons in 1997.

The MP for Maidenhead said: “Some of the women felt they had to join that, and I didn’t.

“I wanted to do it the way I wanted to do it. So, I did it my way. I was myself and, hey, I was prime minister.”

Mrs May lifted the lid on the culture of Parliament when she first entered the Commons in the late 1990s (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

The former Tory leader said that early on in her political career, she vowed never to think that being a woman held her back.

“Don’t think that you don’t get something because you’re a woman,” she said.

Mrs May told the audience that she hopes to be looked upon by young girls as an inspirational leader committed to public service. She also urged women in leadership positions to actively support other women and encourage them to share their experiences.

She said: “The men network. They network a lot. They will use contacts in order to help them through in their careers, and we don’t do enough of that and we should be doing that as women.”

Mrs May was speaking on stage with the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh.

Ms Nusseibeh shared her own “embarrassing” anecdote, saying that once while trying to keep up with the UAE’s foreign minister on the streets of New York, she got her heel stuck in a gutter and it broke off.

“Men, frankly, don’t run in heels,” she said.