Theresa May spent her final evening before becoming prime minister having dinner with the Chief Rabbi.

Mrs May and her husband Philip joined guests at the north London home of Ephraim Mirvis for the dinner, which had been arranged some time ago.

The Chief Rabbi said her decision to honour the engagement, following the fast-moving events which unexpectedly thrust her into Britain’s top political job, was an indication of the esteem in which the new PM holds the UK’s Jewish community.

Rabbi Mirvis described Mrs May as “a friend and champion of our community and of other faith”.

And he also paid tribute to outgoing PM David Cameron for his work to promote Holocaust remembrance and education.

In a statement, the Chief Rabbi thanked Mr Cameron for “his deep friendship and for his unwavering commitment to promoting the values of decency, respect, liberty and responsibility” and described him as “a man who not only speaks with great principle and conviction but who acts upon what he believes”.

And he added: “Today, Theresa May becomes prime minister at a time of great political, social and economic uncertainty. Few people are more talented or better qualified to tackle these immense challenges.

“I recall the speed and the sensitivity with which she reached out to the Jewish community following the terror attacks on Jewish targets in Europe last year. As she made clear then, ‘Without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain’.

“She has proved herself to be a friend and champion of our community and of other faith communities who share her values of tolerance and understanding.

“Last night, on the eve of her becoming prime minister, Theresa May kept a long-standing arrangement to join Valerie and me at our home for dinner. The fact that she did this in the midst of critically important preparations before taking up office is a reflection of her strong desire to keep to her commitments and the esteem in which she holds the British Jewish community. I was delighted to have the opportunity to give her my blessings at this very auspicious time.

“I wish her every success as prime minister and look forward to building upon our warm relationship over the coming years”.