Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May is pulling rank and will move into the more spacious flat above 11 Downing Street rather than the designated one above the premier’s Number 10 office, it was confirmed Monday.
While 10 Downing Street, with its famous black door, is the office and official residence of the prime minister, the flat above Number 11 next door the finance minister’s headquarters — is the bigger of the two.
May is following in the footsteps of the last three prime ministers — Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron — in making the switch.
In 1997, Blair opted for Number 11 because he needed room for his young family, while his finance minister, Brown, had no children at that time.
May, who has spoken of how she likes to cook in her rare revelations about her personal life, may have been influenced by the installation by the Camerons of a top-of-the-range kitchen at Number 11.
Although Cameron had to move out immediately after leaving office last Wednesday, May has yet to move in. This will happen shortly, her office said.
She will also have the use of Chequers, the prime minister’s retreat northwest of London.
Finance minister Philip Hammond will take the smaller Number 10 flat, and have the use of Dorneywood, a country house west of the capital.
As the new foreign minister, Boris Johnson will have the use of the plush 1 Carlton Gardens residence, near Buckingham Palace.
But he will have to share Chevening, a 17th-century manor southeast of London that has long been a perk of Britain’s top diplomat.
Brexit minister David Davis and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will also have use of the 115-room mansion.
They will all be hosting foreign leaders as they negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union “and it will provide an opportunity to do that”, said May’s spokeswoman.