Bill English praises Theresa May in Time's 100 Most Influential People list

Prime Minister Bill English and UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Reuters)
Prime Minister Bill English and UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Reuters)

Prime Minister Bill English has written fondly of his UK counterpart Theresa May for Time's latest 100 Most Influential People list.

The two leaders, neither of whom ascended to power via a general election, met for the first time at 10 Downing St, London, in January. Mr English was on his first overseas tour as Prime Minister, after taking over from John Key in December.

Writing in Time, Mr English said he was "intrigued" to meet Ms May, six months after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

"I learned quickly why she emerged from the Brexit aftermath as leader: she has will and she has clarity," wrote Mr English.

"In charting the UK's renewed relationship with Europe and the rest of the world, she has met the deepest demand of leadership: to provide direction and reassurance in a time of upheaval and confusion.

"She is the right person to guide the democratic will of Britain through the complexity of separating the UK from the European Union."

Mr English says her "gracious determination… without ego" will ensure Ms May will succeed at "remaking a nation".

"In the midst of this highly charged process she can talk with warmth about her concerns for the disenfranchised and disadvantaged, and listen and learn."

Ms May, who became Prime Minister after David Cameron resigned in the wake of the Brexit vote, earlier this week called a snap election, seeking a mandate to steer the UK through the Brexit process and taking advantage of her rival Jeremy Corbyn's poor poll ratings.

Who else made the list?

The Time 100 Most Influential People list isn't ranked, instead divided into five categories - pioneers, artists, leaders, titans and icons.

Pioneers include comedian Samantha Bee, US First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and Chance the Rapper.

Artists include singer Ed Sheeran, Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds, rapper and future Star Wars actor Donald Glover, talk show host James Corden and pianist-singer Alicia Keys.

On the leaders list are, amongst others, are North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Pope Francis, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and FBI head James Comey.

Titans include basketballer LeBron James, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and American football star Tom Brady.

Icons include drag star RuPaul, Brazilian footballer Neymar and author Margaret Atwood.

The full list can be perused on the Time website.