Both Sir John Major and Gordon Brown served full parliamentary terms as backbench MPs after their election defeats in 1997 and 2010 respectively.
And another former prime minister, Alec Douglas-Home, returned to high office as foreign secretary six years after leaving Downing Street.
‘Don’t cut and run’
Mrs May was asked about her future intentions by veteran Labour MP Barry Sheerman during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Praising her sense of duty, Mr Sheerman urged her not to “cut and run” but instead to stick around in Parliament in order to “give some of the people who will take over after her a bit of the medicine they have given her”.
To cheers from the Conservative benches, Mrs May replied: “I will indeed be staying in the chamber of the House of Commons because I will continue as the member of Parliament for my constituency.”
She has represented the Berkshire seat of Maidenhead since 1997.
When he gave up his Witney seat in 2016, Mr Cameron said he did not want to get in the way of his successor or be a focal point for arguments over Brexit.
Once upon a time, prime ministers historically accepted peerages after their retirement and saw out the remainder of their political lives in relative obscurity in the House of Lords.
However, this has become far less common in recent decades, with ex-prime ministers remaining more active in public life, combining charitable activities with earning money on the lecture circuit and making increasingly frequent political interventions.