Margaret Thatcher
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Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the ...
from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the first female British prime minister and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. As prime minister, she implemented economic policies that became known as
Thatcherism Thatcherism is a form of Conservatism in the United Kingdom, British conservative ideology named after Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher that relates to not just her political platform and particular policies ...
. A Soviet journalist dubbed her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. Thatcher studied chemistry at
Somerville College, Oxford Somerville College, a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England, was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall, one of its first two women's colleges. Among list of Somerville College, Oxford, peop ...
, and worked briefly as a research
chemist A chemist (from Greek ''chēm(ía)'' alchemy; replacing ''chymist'' from Medieval Latin ''alchemist'') is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties. Chemists carefully describe th ...
, before becoming a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
. She was elected Member of Parliament for
Finchley Finchley () is a large district of north London, England, in the London Borough of Barnet. Finchley is on high ground, north of Charing Cross. Nearby districts include: Golders Green, Muswell Hill, Friern Barnet, Whetstone, London, Whetston ...
in
1959 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is also known as New Year's Day since ...
.
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
appointed her
Secretary of State for Education and Science The secretary of state for education, also referred to as the education secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for the work of the Department for Education. ...
in his 1970–1974 government. In 1975, she defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become
Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the Opposition (parliamentary), largest political party not in government, typical in countries utilizing the parliamentary system form of government. The leader of the ...
, the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. On becoming prime minister after winning the 1979 general election, Thatcher introduced a series of economic policies intended to reverse high inflation and Britain's struggles in the wake of the
Winter of Discontent The Winter of Discontent was the period between November 1978 and February 1979 in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europ ...
and an oncoming recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised
deregulation Deregulation is the process of removing or reducing state regulations, typically in the economic sphere. It is the repeal of governmental regulation of the economy. It became common in advanced industrial economies in the 1970s and 1980s, as a ...
(particularly of the financial sector), the privatisation of
state-owned companies A state-owned enterprise (SOE) is a Government, government entity which is established or nationalised by the ''national government'' or ''provincial government'' by an executive order or an act of legislation in order to earn Profit (econom ...
, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Her popularity in her first years in office waned amid recession and rising unemployment. Victory in the 1982
Falklands War The Falklands War ( es, link=no, Guerra de las Malvinas) was a ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 over two British Overseas Territories, British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland I ...
and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her
landslide Landslides, also known as landslips, are several forms of mass wasting that may include a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep-seated grade (slope), slope failures, mudflows, and debris flows. Landslides occur in a variety of ...
re-election in
1983 The year 1983 saw both the official beginning of the Internet and the first mobile cellular telephone call. Events January * January 1 – The migration of the ARPANET to Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP is officially completed (this is consid ...
. She survived an assassination attempt by the
Provisional IRA The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republicanism, Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, fa ...
in the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing and achieved a political victory against the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1984–85 miners' strike. Thatcher was re-elected for a third term with another landslide in
1987 File:1987 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: The MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes after leaving the Port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, killing 193; Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes after takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, k ...
, but her subsequent support for the Community Charge ("poll tax") was widely unpopular, and her increasingly
Eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also spelled as Euroskepticism or EU-scepticism, is a political position involving criticism of the European Union (EU) and European integration. It ranges from those who oppose some EU institutions and policies, and seek reform ...
views on the
European Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
were not shared by others in her cabinet. She resigned as prime minister and party leader in 1990, after a challenge was launched to her leadership, and was succeeded by
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
. After retiring from the
Commons The commons is the cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior, institutions, and Social norm, norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs ...
in 1992, she was given a
life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It ...
age as Baroness Thatcher (of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire) which entitled her to sit in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
. In 2013, she died of a stroke at
the Ritz Hotel, London The Ritz London is a Grade II listed In the United Kingdom, a listed building or listed structure is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in ...
, at the age of 87. A polarising figure in British politics, Thatcher is nonetheless viewed favourably in historical rankings and public opinion of British prime ministers. Her tenure constituted a realignment towards
neoliberal Neoliberalism (also neo-liberalism) is a term used to signify the late 20th century political reappearance of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market capitalism after it fell into decline following the Second World War. A prominent fa ...
policies in Britain, with the complicated legacy attributed to Thatcherism debated into the 21st century.


Early life and education


Family and childhood (1925–1943)

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on 13 October 1925, in
Grantham Grantham () is a market and industrial town in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England, situated on the banks of the River Witham and bounded to the west by the A1 road (Great Britain), A1 road. It lies some 23 miles (37 km) s ...
, Lincolnshire. Her parents were Alfred Roberts (1892–1970), from Northamptonshire, and Beatrice Ethel Stephenson (1888–1960), from Lincolnshire. Her father's maternal grandmother, Catherine Sullivan, was born in
County Kerry County Kerry ( gle, Contae Chiarraí) is a Counties of Ireland, county in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region, Ireland, South-West Region and forms part of the Provinces of Ireland, province of Munster. It is na ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
. Roberts spent her childhood in Grantham, where her father owned a
tobacconist A tobacconist, also called a tobacco shop, a tobacconist's shop or a smoke shop, is a retailer of tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus ''Nicotiana'' of the Family (biology), family Solanaceae, and the gene ...
's and a grocery shop. In 1938, before the Second World War, the Roberts family briefly gave sanctuary to a teenage Jewish girl who had escaped Nazi Germany. With her elder sister Muriel, Margaret saved pocket money to help pay for the teenager's journey. Alfred was an
alderman An alderman is a member of a Municipal government, municipal assembly or council in many Jurisdiction, jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council membe ...
and a Methodist local preacher. He brought up his daughter as a strict Wesleyan Methodist, attending the Finkin Street Methodist Church, but Margaret was more sceptical; the future scientist told a friend that she could not believe in
angel In various theistic religious traditions an angel is a supernatural spiritual being who serves God. Abrahamic religions often depict angels as wikt:benevolent, benevolent celestial intermediaries between God (or Heaven) and humanity. Oth ...
s, having calculated that they needed a
breastbone The sternum or breastbone is a long flat bone Flat bones are bones whose principal function is either extensive protection or the provision of broad surfaces for muscular attachment. These bones are expanded into broad, flat Plate (anatomy), p ...
long to support wings. Alfred came from a Liberal family but stood (as was then customary in local government) as an
Independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independen ...
. He served as Mayor of Grantham in 1945–46 and lost his position as alderman in 1952 after the Labour Party won its first majority on Grantham Council in 1950. Roberts attended Huntingtower Road Primary School and won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School, a grammar school. Her school reports showed hard work and continual improvement; her extracurricular activities included the piano, field hockey, poetry recitals, swimming and walking. She was
head girl Head boy and head girl are student leadership roles in schools, representing the school's entire student body. They are normally the most senior Prefect#Academic, prefects in the school. The terms are commonly used in the Education in the United K ...
in 1942–43, and outside school, while the Second World War was ongoing, she voluntarily worked as a fire watcher in the local
ARP service Air Raid Precautions (ARP) refers to a number of organisations and guidelines in the United Kingdom dedicated to the protection of civilians from the danger of air raids. Government consideration for air raid precautions increased in the 1920s an ...
. Other students thought of Roberts as the "star scientist", although mistaken advice regarding cleaning ink from
parquetry Parquet (; French for "a small compartment") is a geometric mosaic of wood pieces used for decorative effect in flooring. Parquet patterns are often entirely geometrical and angular—squares, triangles, Lozenge (shape), lozenges—but may co ...
almost caused chlorine gas poisoning. In her upper sixth year Roberts was accepted for a scholarship to study chemistry at
Somerville College, Oxford Somerville College, a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England, was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall, one of its first two women's colleges. Among list of Somerville College, Oxford, peop ...
, a women's college, starting in 1944. After another candidate withdrew, Roberts entered Oxford in October 1943.


Oxford (1943–1947)

Roberts arrived at Oxford in 1943 and graduated in 1947 with a second-class degree in chemistry, after specialising in
X-ray crystallography X-ray crystallography is the experimental science determining the atomic and molecular structure of a crystal, in which the crystalline structure causes a beam of incident X-rays to Diffraction, diffract into many specific directions. By measurin ...
under the supervision of
Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin (née Crowfoot; 12 May 1910 – 29 July 1994) was a Nobel Prize-winning British chemist who advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of biomolecules, which became essential f ...
. Her dissertation was on the structure of the antibiotic
gramicidin Gramicidin, also called gramicidin D, is a mix of ionophore, ionophoric antibiotics, gramicidin A, B and C, which make up about 80%, 5%, and 15% of the mix, respectively. Each has 2 isoforms, so the mix has 6 different types of gramicidin molecul ...
. She also received the degree of
Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA, M.A., AM, or A.M.) is the holder of a master's degree awarded by University, universities in many countries. The degree is usually contrasted with that of Master of ...
in 1950 (as an Oxford BA, she was entitled to the degree 21 terms after her
matriculation Matriculation is the formal process of entering a university A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in sev ...
). Roberts did not only study chemistry as she intended to be a chemist only for a short period of time, already thinking about law and politics. She was reportedly prouder of becoming the first prime minister with a science degree than becoming the first female prime minister. While prime minister she attempted to preserve Somerville as a women's college. Twice a week outside study she worked in a local forces canteen. During her time at Oxford, Roberts was noted for her isolated and serious attitude. Her first boyfriend, Tony Bray (1926–2014), recalled that she was "very thoughtful and a very good conversationalist. That's probably what interested me. She was good at general subjects". Roberts's enthusiasm for politics as a girl made him think of her as "unusual" and her parents as "slightly austere" and "very proper". Roberts became President of the
Oxford University Conservative Association The Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) is a student Conservative association founded in 1924, whose members are drawn from the University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research un ...
in 1946. She was influenced at university by political works such as
Friedrich Hayek Friedrich August von Hayek ( , ; 8 May 189923 March 1992), often referred to by his initials F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian–British economist, Jurisprudence, legal theorist and philosopher who is best known for his defense of classical lib ...
's ''
The Road to Serfdom ''The Road to Serfdom'' ( German: ''Der Weg zur Knechtschaft'') is a book written between 1940 and 1943 by Austrian-British economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of econom ...
'' (1944), which condemned economic intervention by government as a precursor to an authoritarian state.


Post-Oxford career (1947–1951)

After graduating, Roberts moved to
Colchester Colchester ( ) is a city status in the United Kingdom, city in Essex, in the East of England. It had a population of 122,000 in 2011. The demonym is Colcestrian. Colchester occupies the site of Camulodunum, the first Colonia (Roman), major c ...
in Essex to work as a research chemist for BX Plastics. In 1948 she applied for a job at
Imperial Chemical Industries Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a British Chemical industry, chemical company. It was, for much of its history, the largest manufacturer in Britain. It was formed by the merger of four leading British chemical companies in 1926. Its head ...
(ICI), but was rejected after the personnel department assessed her as "headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated". Jon Agar in '' Notes and Records'' argues that her understanding of modern scientific research later impacted her views as prime minister. Roberts joined the local Conservative Association and attended the party conference at
Llandudno Llandudno (, ) is a seaside resort, town and community (Wales), community in Conwy County Borough, Wales, located on the Creuddyn peninsula, which protrudes into the Irish Sea. In the 2011 UK census, the community – which includes Gogarth, Pe ...
, Wales, in 1948, as a representative of the University Graduate Conservative Association. Meanwhile, she became a high-ranking affiliate of the Vermin Club, a group of grassroots Conservatives formed in response to a derogatory comment made by
Aneurin Bevan Aneurin "Nye" Bevan Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, PC (; 15 November 1897 – 6 July 1960) was a Welsh people, Welsh Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician, noted for tenure as Minister of Health in Clement Attlee's go ...
. One of her Oxford friends was also a friend of the Chair of the
Dartford Dartford is the principal town in the Borough of Dartford, Kent, England. It is located south-east of Central London and is situated adjacent to the London Borough of Bexley to its west. To its north, across the Thames estuary, is Thurrock in E ...
Conservative Association in
Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River ...
, who were looking for candidates. Officials of the association were so impressed by her that they asked her to apply, even though she was not on the party's approved list; she was selected in January 1950 (aged 24) and added to the approved list ''post ante''. At a dinner following her formal adoption as Conservative candidate for Dartford in February 1949 she met divorcé
Denis Thatcher Sir Denis Thatcher, 1st Baronet, (10 May 1915 – 26 June 2003) was an English businessman and the husband of Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of ...
, a successful and wealthy businessman, who drove her to her Essex train. After their first meeting she described him to Muriel as "not a very attractive creature – very reserved but quite nice". In preparation for the election Roberts moved to Dartford, where she supported herself by working as a research chemist for J. Lyons and Co. in Hammersmith, part of a team developing
emulsifiers An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible (unmixable or unblendable) owing to liquid-liquid phase separation. Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Alt ...
for
ice cream Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and a spice, such as Chocolate, cocoa or vanilla, or with fruit ...
. She married at
Wesley's Chapel Wesley's Chapel (originally the City Road Chapel) is a Methodist Church of Great Britain, Methodist church situated in the St Luke's, London, St Luke's area in the south of the London Borough of Islington. Opened in 1778, it was built under th ...
and her children were baptised there, but she and her husband began attending
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
services and would later convert to
Anglicanism Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Euro ...
.


Early political career

In the
1950 Events January * January 1 – The International Police Association (IPA) – the largest police organization in the world – is formed. * January 5 – 1950 Sverdlovsk plane crash, Sverdlovsk plane crash: ''Aeroflot'' Lisunov Li-2 cr ...
and 1951 general elections, Roberts was the Conservative candidate for the Labour seat of
Dartford Dartford is the principal town in the Borough of Dartford, Kent, England. It is located south-east of Central London and is situated adjacent to the London Borough of Bexley to its west. To its north, across the Thames estuary, is Thurrock in E ...
. The local party selected her as its candidate because, though not a dynamic public speaker, Roberts was well-prepared and fearless in her answers. A prospective candidate, Bill Deedes, recalled: "Once she opened her mouth, the rest of us began to look rather second-rate." She attracted media attention as the youngest and the only female candidate; in 1950, she was the youngest Conservative candidate in the country. She lost on both occasions to Norman Dodds, but reduced the Labour majority by 6,000, and then a further 1,000. During the campaigns, she was supported by her parents and by future husband Denis Thatcher, whom she married in December 1951. Denis funded his wife's studies for the bar; she qualified as a barrister in 1953 and specialised in taxation. Later that same year their twins Carol and Mark were born, delivered prematurely by Caesarean section.


Member of Parliament (1959–1970)

In 1954, Thatcher was defeated when she sought selection to be the Conservative Party candidate for the Orpington by-election of January 1955. She chose not to stand as a candidate in the 1955 general election, in later years stating: "I really just felt the twins were ..only two, I really felt that it was too soon. I couldn't do that." Afterwards, Thatcher began looking for a Conservative safe seat and was selected as the candidate for
Finchley Finchley () is a large district of north London, England, in the London Borough of Barnet. Finchley is on high ground, north of Charing Cross. Nearby districts include: Golders Green, Muswell Hill, Friern Barnet, Whetstone, London, Whetston ...
in April 1958 (narrowly beating
Ian Montagu Fraser Ian Montagu Fraser (14 October 1916 – 8 November 1987) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative party politician. Fraser stood for Tottenham (UK Parliament constituency), Tottenham in 1955 United Kingdom general election, 1955 and ...
). She was elected as MP for the seat after a hard campaign in the 1959 election. Benefiting from her fortunate result in a lottery for
backbencher In Westminster system, Westminster and other parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a member of parliament (MP) or a legislator who occupies no Minister (government), governmental office and is not a Frontbencher, frontbench spokesperson i ...
s to propose new legislation, Thatcher's maiden speech was, unusually, in support of her
private member's bill A private member's bill is a bill (proposed law) introduced into a legislature by a legislator who is not acting on behalf of the executive branch. The designation "private member's bill" is used in most Westminster system jurisdictions, in whic ...
, the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, requiring local authorities to hold their council meetings in public; the bill was successful and became law. In 1961 she went against the Conservative Party's official position by voting for the restoration of
birching Birching is a form of corporal punishment with a birch A birch is a thin-leaved deciduous hardwood tree of the genus ''Betula'' (), in the family Betulaceae, which also includes alders, hazels, and hornbeams. It is closely related to the b ...
as a
judicial corporal punishment The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
.


On the frontbenches

Thatcher's talent and drive caused her to be mentioned as a future prime minister in her early 20s although she herself was more pessimistic, stating as late as 1970: "There will not be a woman prime minister in my lifetime – the male population is too prejudiced." In October 1961 she was promoted to the frontbench as
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry for Pensions The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions was a junior Ministerial office at Parliamentary Secretary rank in the British Government, supporting the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Minister for Pensions. Establishment and his ...
by
Harold Macmillan Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was a British Conservative statesman and politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. Caricatured as " Supermac", ...
. Thatcher was the youngest woman in history to receive such a post, and among the first MPs elected in 1959 to be promoted. After the Conservatives lost the 1964 election, she became spokeswoman on Housing and Land, in which position she advocated her party's policy of giving tenants the
Right to Buy The Right to Buy scheme is a policy in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Br ...
their
council house A council house is a form of British Public housing in the United Kingdom, public housing built by Local government in the United Kingdom, local authorities. A council estate is a building complex containing a number of council houses and othe ...
s. She moved to the Shadow Treasury team in 1966 and, as Treasury spokeswoman, opposed Labour's mandatory price and income controls, arguing they would unintentionally produce effects that would distort the economy. Jim Prior suggested Thatcher as a Shadow Cabinet member after the Conservatives' 1966 defeat, but party leader
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
and Chief Whip William Whitelaw eventually chose Mervyn Pike as the Conservative Shadow Cabinet's sole woman member. At the 1966 Conservative Party conference, Thatcher criticised the high-tax policies of the Labour government as being steps "not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism", arguing that lower taxes served as an incentive to hard work. Thatcher was one of the few Conservative MPs to support
Leo Abse Leopold Abse (22 April 1917 – 19 August 2008) was a Welsh lawyer and politician. He was a Welsh Labour Welsh Labour ( cy, Llafur Cymru) is the branch of the United Kingdom Labour Party (UK), Labour Party in Wales and the largest party in ...
's bill to decriminalise male homosexuality. She voted in favour of
David Steel David Martin Scott Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, (born 31 March 1938) is a British politician. Elected as Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (UK Parliament constituency), Roxburgh, S ...
's bill to legalise abortion, as well as a ban on
hare coursing Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares with greyhounds and other sighthounds, which chase the hare by sight, not by scent. In some countries, it is a legal, competitive activity in which dogs are tested on their ability to run, overtake and turn ...
. She supported the retention of capital punishment and voted against the relaxation of divorce laws.


In the Shadow Cabinet

In 1967, the United States Embassy chose Thatcher to take part in the International Visitor Leadership Program (then called the Foreign Leader Program), a professional exchange programme that allowed her to spend about six weeks visiting various US cities and political figures as well as institutions such as the
International Monetary Fund The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a major financial agency of the United Nations, and an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 190 countries. Its stated mission is "working to foster globa ...
. Although she was not yet a Shadow Cabinet member, the embassy reportedly described her to the State Department as a possible future prime minister. The description helped Thatcher meet with prominent people during a busy itinerary focused on economic issues, including
Paul Samuelson Paul Anthony Samuelson (May 15, 1915 – December 13, 2009) was an American economist who was the first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. When awarding the prize in 1970, the Swedish Royal Academies stated that he "h ...
,
Walt Rostow Walt Whitman Rostow (October 7, 1916 – February 13, 2003) was an American economist, professor and political theorist who served as National Security Advisor (United States), National Security Advisor to President of the United States Lyndon B. ...
,
Pierre-Paul Schweitzer Pierre-Paul Schweitzer (; 29 May 1912 – 2 January 1994) was a French businessman who served as the fourth managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1963 to 1973. Early life and education He was born on 29 May 1912, in ...
and
Nelson Rockefeller Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979), sometimes referred to by his nickname Rocky, was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st vice president of the United States from 1974 to 1977. A member of t ...
. Following the visit, Heath appointed Thatcher to the Shadow Cabinet as Fuel and Power spokeswoman. Before the 1970 general election, she was promoted to Shadow Transport spokeswoman and later to Education. In 1968,
Enoch Powell John Enoch Powell, (16 June 1912 – 8 February 1998) was a British politician, classical scholar, author, linguist, soldier, philologist, and poet. He served as a Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Member of Parliament (1950–1974) and w ...
delivered his "Rivers of Blood" speech in which he strongly criticised
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, general welfare, or public benefit) is either what is share ...
immigration to the United Kingdom and the then-proposed Race Relations Bill. When Heath telephoned Thatcher to inform her that he would sack Powell from the Shadow Cabinet, she recalled that she "really thought that it was better to let things cool down for the present rather than heighten the crisis". She believed that his main points about Commonwealth immigration were correct and that the selected quotations from his speech had been taken out of context. In a 1991 interview for '' Today'', Thatcher stated that she thought Powell had "made a valid argument, if in sometimes regrettable terms". Around this time, she gave her first Commons speech as a shadow transport minister and highlighted the need for investment in
British Rail British Railways (BR), which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was a state-owned company that operated most of the overground rail transport in Great Britain from 1948 to 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the Big Four (British ra ...
. She argued: " ..if we build bigger and better roads, they would soon be saturated with more vehicles and we would be no nearer solving the problem." Thatcher made her first visit to the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
in the summer of 1969 as the Opposition Transport spokeswoman, and in October delivered a speech celebrating her ten years in Parliament. In early 1970, she told ''The Finchley Press'' that she would like to see a "reversal of the permissive society".


Education Secretary (1970–1974)

The Conservative Party, led by Edward Heath, won the 1970 general election, and Thatcher was appointed to the Cabinet as
Secretary of State for Education and Science The secretary of state for education, also referred to as the education secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for the work of the Department for Education. ...
. Thatcher caused controversy when, after only a few days in office, she withdrew Labour's Circular 10/65 which attempted to force comprehensivisation, without going through a consultation process. She was highly criticised for the speed at which she carried this out. Consequently, she drafted her own new policy ( Circular 10/70), which ensured that local authorities were not forced to go comprehensive. Her new policy was not meant to stop the development of new comprehensives; she said: "We shall ..expect plans to be based on educational considerations rather than on the comprehensive principle." Thatcher supported Lord Rothschild's 1971 proposal for market forces to affect government funding of research. Although many scientists opposed the proposal, her research background probably made her sceptical of their claim that outsiders should not interfere with funding. The department evaluated proposals for more local education authorities to close grammar schools and to adopt comprehensive secondary education. Although Thatcher was committed to a tiered
secondary modern A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school that existed throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 1944 until the 1970s under the Tripartite System. Schools of this type continue in Northern Ireland, where they are usually ...
-grammar school system of education and attempted to preserve grammar schools, during her tenure as education secretary she turned down only 326 of 3,612 proposals (roughly 9 per cent) for schools to become comprehensives; the proportion of pupils attending comprehensive schools consequently rose from 32 per cent to 62 per cent. Nevertheless, she managed to save 94 grammar schools. During her first months in office she attracted public attention due to the government's attempts to cut spending. She gave priority to academic needs in schools, while administering public expenditure cuts on the state education system, resulting in the abolition of free milk for schoolchildren aged seven to eleven. She held that few children would suffer if schools were charged for milk but agreed to provide younger children with daily for nutritional purposes. She also argued that she was simply carrying on with what the Labour government had started since they had stopped giving free milk to secondary schools. Milk would still be provided to those children that required it on medical grounds, and schools could still sell milk. The aftermath of the milk row hardened her determination; she told the editor-proprietor Harold Creighton of ''
The Spectator ''The Spectator'' is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828, making it the oldest surviving weekly magazine in the world. It is owned by Frederick Barclay, who also owns '' T ...
'': "Don't underestimate me, I saw how they broke Keith , but they won't break me." Cabinet papers later revealed that she opposed the policy but had been forced into it by the Treasury. Her decision provoked a storm of protest from Labour and the press, leading to her being notoriously nicknamed "Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher". She reportedly considered leaving politics in the aftermath and later wrote in her autobiography: "I learned a valuable lesson . I had incurred the maximum of political odium for the minimum of political benefit."


Leader of the Opposition (1975–1979)

The Heath government continued to experience difficulties with oil embargoes and union demands for wage increases in 1973, subsequently losing the February 1974 general election. Labour formed a
minority government A minority government, minority cabinet, minority administration, or a minority parliament is a government and cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats ...
and went on to win a narrow majority in the October 1974 general election. Heath's leadership of the Conservative Party looked increasingly in doubt. Thatcher was not initially seen as the obvious replacement, but she eventually became the main challenger, promising a fresh start. Her main support came from the parliamentary 1922 Committee and ''The Spectator'', but Thatcher's time in office gave her the reputation of a pragmatist rather than that of an ideologue. She defeated Heath on the first ballot and he resigned the leadership. In the second ballot she defeated Whitelaw, Heath's preferred successor. Thatcher's election had a polarising effect on the party; her support was stronger among MPs on the right, and also among those from southern England, and those who had not attended public schools or
Oxbridge Oxbridge is a portmanteau of University of Oxford, Oxford and University of Cambridge, Cambridge, the two oldest, wealthiest, and most famous universities in the United Kingdom. The term is used to refer to them collectively, in contrast to oth ...
. Thatcher became Conservative Party leader and
Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the Opposition (parliamentary), largest political party not in government, typical in countries utilizing the parliamentary system form of government. The leader of the ...
on 11 February 1975; she appointed Whitelaw as her deputy. Heath was never reconciled to Thatcher's leadership of the party. Television critic
Clive James Clive James (born Vivian Leopold James; 7 October 1939 – 24 November 2019) was an Australian critic, journalist, broadcaster, writer and lyricist who lived and worked in the United Kingdom from 1962 until his death in 2019.The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper Sunday editions, published on Sundays. It is a sister paper to ''The Guardian'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', whose parent company Guardian Media Group, Guardian Media Group Limited acquired it in 1993. ...
'' prior to her election as Conservative Party leader, compared her voice of 1973 to "a cat sliding down a blackboard". Thatcher had already begun to work on her presentation on the advice of Gordon Reece, a former television producer. By chance, Reece met the actor
Laurence Olivier Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier (; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an English actor and director who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, was one of a trio of male actors who dominated the Theatre of the U ...
, who arranged lessons with the National Theatre's voice coach. Thatcher began attending lunches regularly at the
Institute of Economic Affairs The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is a right-wing pressure group Advocacy groups, also known as interest groups, special interest groups, lobbying groups or pressure groups use various forms of advocacy in order to influence public ...
(IEA), a think tank founded by poultry magnate
Antony Fisher Sir Antony George Anson Fisher (28 June 1915 – 8 July 1988), nicknamed AGAF, was a British businessman and think tank founder. He participated in the formation of various Libertarianism, libertarian organisations during the second half of t ...
; she had been visiting the IEA and reading its publications since the early 1960s. There she was influenced by the ideas of Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, and became the face of the ideological movement opposing the British welfare state.
Keynesian economics Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
, they believed, was weakening Britain. The institute's pamphlets proposed less government, lower taxes, and more freedom for business and consumers. Thatcher intended to promote
neoliberal Neoliberalism (also neo-liberalism) is a term used to signify the late 20th century political reappearance of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market capitalism after it fell into decline following the Second World War. A prominent fa ...
economic ideas at home and abroad. Despite setting the direction of her foreign policy for a Conservative government, Thatcher was distressed by her repeated failure to shine in the House of Commons. Consequently, Thatcher decided that as "her voice was carrying little weight at home", she would "be heard in the wider world". Thatcher undertook visits across the Atlantic, establishing an international profile and promoting her economic and foreign policies. She toured the United States in 1975 and met President
Gerald Ford Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. ( ; born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States from 1974 to 1977. He was the only president never to have been elected ...
, visiting again in 1977, when she met President
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, he previously served as th ...
. Among other foreign trips, she met Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ( fa, محمدرضا پهلوی, ; 26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980), also known as Mohammad Reza Shah (), was the last ''Shah'' (King) of the Imperial State of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow in the Irani ...
during a visit to Iran in 1978. Thatcher chose to travel without being accompanied by her
shadow foreign secretary In UK politics, the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs is a position within the Official Opposition, opposition's Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet (United Kingdom), shadow cabinet that deals mainly with ...
,
Reginald Maudling Reginald Maudling (7 March 1917 – 14 February 1979) was a British politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1962 to 1964 and as Home Secretary from 1970 to 1972. From 1955 until the late 1960s, he was spoken of as a prospecti ...
, in an attempt to make a bolder personal impact. In domestic affairs, Thatcher opposed
Scottish devolution Devolution in the United Kingdom, Devolution is the process in which the central Parliament of the United Kingdom, British parliament grants administrative powers (excluding principally Devolved, reserved and excepted matters, reserved matters ...
(
home rule Home rule is government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens. It is thus the power of a part (administrative division) of a State (polity), state or an external dependent country to exercise such of the state's powers o ...
) and the creation of a Scottish Assembly. She instructed Conservative MPs to vote against the Scotland and Wales Bill in December 1976, which was successfully defeated, and then when new Bills were proposed she supported amending the legislation to allow the English to vote in the 1979 referendum on Scottish devolution. Britain's economy during the 1970s was so weak that then Foreign Secretary
James Callaghan Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, ( ; 27 March 191226 March 2005), commonly known as Jim Callaghan, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party ...
warned his fellow Labour Cabinet members in 1974 of the possibility of "a breakdown of democracy", telling them: "If I were a young man, I would emigrate." In mid-1978, the economy began to recover, and opinion polls showed Labour in the lead, with a general election being expected later that year and a Labour win a serious possibility. Now prime minister, Callaghan surprised many by announcing on 7 September that there would be no general election that year, and he would wait until 1979 before going to the polls. Thatcher reacted to this by branding the Labour government "chickens", and Liberal Party leader David Steel joined in, criticising Labour for "running scared". The Labour government then faced fresh public unease about the direction of the country and a damaging series of strikes during the winter of 1978–79, dubbed the "
Winter of Discontent The Winter of Discontent was the period between November 1978 and February 1979 in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europ ...
". The Conservatives attacked the Labour government's unemployment record, using advertising with the slogan " Labour Isn't Working". A
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
was called after the Callaghan ministry lost a motion of no confidence in early 1979. The Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in the House of Commons, and Thatcher became the first female British prime minister.


"The 'Iron Lady

In 1976, Thatcher gave her "Britain Awake" foreign policy speech which lambasted the Soviet Union, saying it was "bent on world dominance". The Soviet Army journal ''
Red Star A red star, Five-pointed star, five-pointed and filled, is a symbol that has often historically been associated with Communism, communist ideology, particularly in combination with the hammer and sickle, but is also used as a purely Socialism, ...
'' reported her stance in a piece headlined "Iron Lady Raises Fears", alluding to her remarks on the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was the political boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991. The term symbolizes the efforts by the Soviet Union (USSR) to block itself and its s ...
. ''
The Sunday Times ''The Sunday Times'' is a British newspaper whose circulation makes it the largest in Britain's quality press market category. It was founded in 1821 as ''The New Observer''. It is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News UK, whi ...
'' covered the ''Red Star'' article the next day, and Thatcher embraced the
epithet An epithet (, ), also byname, is a descriptive term (word or phrase) known for accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, di ...
a week later; in a speech to Finchley Conservatives she likened it to the
Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, (1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish people, Anglo-Irish soldier and Tories (British political party), Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of Uni ...
's nickname "The Iron Duke". The "Iron" metaphor followed her throughout ever since, and would become a generic
sobriquet A sobriquet ( ), or soubriquet, is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another, that is descriptive. A sobriquet is distinct from a pseudonym, as it is typically a familiar name used in place of a real name, without the need of expla ...
for other strong-willed female politicians.


Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979–1990)

Thatcher became prime minister on 4 May 1979. Arriving at
Downing Street Downing Street is a street in City of Westminster, Westminster in London that houses the official residences and offices of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Situated off Whitehall, it is long, and ...
she said, paraphrasing the Prayer of Saint Francis: In office throughout the 1980s, Thatcher was frequently referred to as the most powerful woman in the world.


Domestic affairs


Minorities

Thatcher was Opposition leader and prime minister at a time of increased racial tension in Britain. On the local elections of 1977, ''
The Economist ''The Economist'' is a British weekly newspaper printed in Paper size#Demitab, demitab format and Electronic publishing, published digitally. It focuses on current affairs, international business, politics, technology, and culture. Based in Lo ...
'' commented: "The Tory tide swamped the smaller parties—specifically the National Front , which suffered a clear decline from last year." Her standing in the polls had risen by 11% after a 1978 interview for '' World in Action'' in which she said "the British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in", as well as "in many ways add to the richness and variety of this country. The moment the minority threatens to become a big one, people get frightened". In the 1979 general election, the Conservatives had attracted votes from the NF, whose support almost collapsed. In a July 1979 meeting with Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington and Home Secretary William Whitelaw, Thatcher objected to the number of Asian immigrants, in the context of limiting the total of
Vietnamese boat people Vietnamese boat people ( vi, Thuyền nhân Việt Nam), also known simply as boat people, refers to the refugees who fled Vietnam by boat and ship following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This migration and humanitarian crisis was at its h ...
allowed to settle in the UK to fewer than 10,000 over two years.


The Queen

As prime minister, Thatcher met weekly with
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
to discuss government business, and their relationship came under scrutiny. states: Michael Shea, the Queen's press secretary, in 1986 leaked stories of a deep rift to ''The Sunday Times''. He said that she felt Thatcher's policies were "uncaring, confrontational and socially divisive". Thatcher later wrote: "I always found the Queen's attitude towards the work of the Government absolutely correct ..stories of clashes between 'two powerful women' were just too good not to make up."


Economy and taxation

Thatcher's economic policy was influenced by
monetarist Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on measures ...
thinking and economists such as
Milton Friedman Milton Friedman (; July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist and statistician who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on Consumption (economics), consumption analysis, Money supply, ...
and
Alan Walters Sir Alan Arthur Walters (17 June 1926 – 3 January 2009) was a British economist who was best known as the Chief Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from 1981 to 1983 and (after his return from the United States) again for fi ...
. Together with her first
chancellor Chancellor ( la, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the or lattice work screens of a basilica or law cou ...
,
Geoffrey Howe Richard Edward Geoffrey Howe, Baron Howe of Aberavon, (20 December 1926 – 9 October 2015) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1989 to 1990. H ...
, she lowered direct taxes on income and increased indirect taxes. She increased interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply, and thereby lower inflation; introduced cash limits on public spending and reduced expenditure on social services such as education and housing. Cuts to higher education led to Thatcher being the first
Oxonian The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the List of oldest universit ...
post-war prime minister without an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, after a 738–319 vote of the governing assembly and a student petition. Some Heathite Conservatives in the Cabinet, the so-called "
wets During the 1980s, members of the moderate wing of the British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party who opposed some of the more Thatcherism, hard-line policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were often referred to by their opponents as ...
", expressed doubt over Thatcher's policies. The 1981 England riots resulted in the British media discussing the need for a policy U-turn. At the 1980 Conservative Party conference, Thatcher addressed the issue directly, with a speech written by the playwright Ronald Millar, that notably included the following lines: Thatcher's job approval rating fell to 23% by December 1980, lower than recorded for any previous prime minister. As the recession of the early 1980s deepened, she increased taxes, despite concerns expressed in a March 1981 statement signed by 364 leading economists, which argued there was "no basis in economic theory ..for the Government's belief that by deflating demand they will bring inflation permanently under control", adding that "present policies will deepen the depression, erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability". By 1982, the UK began to experience signs of economic recovery; inflation was down to 8.6% from a high of 18%, but unemployment was over 3 million for the first time since the 1930s. By 1983, overall economic growth was stronger, and inflation and mortgage rates had fallen to their lowest levels in 13 years, although manufacturing employment as a share of total employment fell to just over 30%, with total unemployment remaining high, peaking at 3.3 million in 1984. During the 1982 Conservative Party Conference, Thatcher said: "We have done more to roll back the frontiers of socialism than any previous Conservative Government." She said at the Party Conference the following year that the British people had completely rejected
state socialism State socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
and understood "the state has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves ..There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers' money." By 1987, unemployment was falling, the economy was stable and strong, and inflation was low. Opinion polls showed a comfortable Conservative lead, and local council election results had also been successful, prompting Thatcher to call a general election for 11 June that year, despite the deadline for an election still being 12 months away. The
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative ...
saw Thatcher re-elected for a third successive term. Thatcher had been firmly opposed to British membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM, a precursor to European Economic and Monetary Union), believing that it would constrain the British economy, despite the urging of both Chancellor of the Exchequer
Nigel Lawson Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, (born 11 March 1932) is a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party politician and journalist. He was a House of Commons of the United Kingdom, Member of Parliament representing the Blaby (UK Parl ...
and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe; in October 1990 she was persuaded by
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
, Lawson's successor as Chancellor, to join the ERM at what proved to be too high a rate. Thatcher reformed local government taxes by replacing domestic rates (a tax based on the nominal rental value of a home) with the Community Charge (or poll tax) in which the same amount was charged to each adult resident. The new tax was introduced in Scotland in 1989 and in England and Wales the following year, and proved to be among the most unpopular policies of her premiership. Public disquiet culminated in a 70,000 to 200,000-strong demonstration in London in March 1990; the demonstration around
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, laid out in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. At its centre is a high column bearing a statue of Admiral Nelson commemor ...
deteriorated into
riots A riot is a form of civil disorder commonly characterized by a group lashing out in a violent public disturbance against authority, property, or people. Riots typically involve destruction of property, public or private. The property targeted ...
, leaving 113 people injured and 340 under arrest. The Community Charge was abolished in 1991 by her successor, John Major. It has since transpired that Thatcher herself had failed to register for the tax, and was threatened with financial penalties if she did not return her form.


Industrial relations

Thatcher believed that the
trade unions A trade union (labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", ch. I such as attaining better wages and Employee ben ...
were harmful to both ordinary trade unionists and the public. She was committed to reducing the power of the unions, whose leadership she accused of undermining parliamentary democracy and economic performance through strike action. Several unions launched strikes in response to legislation introduced to limit their power, but resistance eventually collapsed. Only 39% of union members voted Labour in the 1983 general election. According to the BBC's political correspondent in 2004, Thatcher "managed to destroy the power of the trade unions for almost a generation". The miners' strike of 1984–85 was the biggest and most devastating confrontation between the unions and the Thatcher government. In March 1984, the
National Coal Board The National Coal Board (NCB) was the statutory corporation created to run the Nationalization, nationalised coal mining industry in the United Kingdom. Set up under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946, it took over the United Kingdom's ...
(NCB) proposed to close 20 of the 174 state-owned mines and cut 20,000 jobs out of 187,000. Two-thirds of the country's miners, led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under
Arthur Scargill Arthur Scargill (born 11 January 1938) is a British trade unionist who was President of the National Union of Mineworkers (Great Britain), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) from 1982 to 2002. He is best known for leading the UK miners' strik ...
, downed tools in protest. However, Scargill refused to hold a ballot on the strike, having previously lost three ballots on a national strike (in January and October 1982, and March 1983). This led to the strike being declared illegal by the
High Court of Justice The High Court of Justice in London, known properly as His Majesty's High Court of Justice in England, together with the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, are the Courts of England and Wales, Senior Cou ...
. Thatcher refused to meet the union's demands and compared the miners' dispute to the
Falklands War The Falklands War ( es, link=no, Guerra de las Malvinas) was a ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 over two British Overseas Territories, British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland I ...
, declaring in a speech in 1984: "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty." Thatcher's opponents misrepresented her words as indicating contempt for the working class and have been employed in criticism of her ever since. After a year out on strike in March 1985, the NUM leadership conceded without a deal. The cost to the economy was estimated to be at least £1.5 billion, and the strike was blamed for much of the pound's fall against the
US dollar The United States dollar (Currency symbol, symbol: Dollar sign, $; ISO 4217, code: USD; also abbreviated US$ or U.S. Dollar, to distinguish it from Dollar, other dollar-denominated currencies; referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, American ...
. Thatcher reflected on the end of the strike in her statement that "if anyone has won" it was "the miners who stayed at work" and all those "that have kept Britain going". The government closed 25 unprofitable coal mines in 1985, and by 1992 a total of 97 mines had been closed; those that remained were privatised in 1994. The resulting closure of 150 coal mines, some of which were not losing money, resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and had the effect of devastating entire communities. Strikes had helped bring down Heath's government, and Thatcher was determined to succeed where he had failed. Her strategy of preparing fuel stocks, appointing hardliner Ian MacGregor as NCB leader, and ensuring that police were adequately trained and equipped with riot gear contributed to her triumph over the striking miners. The number of stoppages across the UK peaked at 4,583 in 1979, when more than 29 million working days had been lost. In 1984, the year of the miners' strike, there were 1,221, resulting in the loss of more than 27 million working days. Stoppages then fell steadily throughout the rest of Thatcher's premiership; in 1990, there were 630 and fewer than 2 million working days lost, and they continued to fall thereafter. Thatcher's tenure also witnessed a sharp decline in trade union density, with the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union falling from 57.3% in 1979 to 49.5% in 1985. In 1979 up until Thatcher's final year in office, trade union membership also fell, from 13.5 million in 1979 to fewer than 10 million.


Privatisation

The policy of
privatisation Privatization (also privatisation in British English) can mean several different things, most commonly referring to moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when ...
has been called "a crucial ingredient of Thatcherism". After the 1983 election the sale of state utilities accelerated; more than £29 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised industries, and another £18 billion from the sale of council houses. The process of privatisation, especially the preparation of nationalised industries for privatisation, was associated with marked improvements in performance, particularly in terms of
labour productivity Workforce productivity is the amount of good (economics), goods and Service (economics), services that a group of workers produce in a given amount of time. It is one of several types of productivity that economics, economists measure. Workforce ...
. Some of the privatised industries, including gas,
water Water (chemical formula ) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living ...
, and electricity, were natural monopolies for which privatisation involved little increase in competition. The privatised industries that demonstrated improvement sometimes did so while still under state ownership.
British Steel Corporation British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
had made great gains in profitability while still a nationalised industry under the government-appointed MacGregor chairmanship, which faced down trade-union opposition to close plants and halve the workforce. Regulation was also significantly expanded to compensate for the loss of direct government control, with the foundation of regulatory bodies such as
Oftel The Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) (''the telecommunications regulator'') was a department in the United Kingdom government, under civil service control, charged with promoting competition and maintaining the interests of consumers in the UK ...
(
1984 Events January * January 1 – The Bornean Sultanate of Brunei gains full independence from the United Kingdom, having become a British protectorate in 1888. * January 7 – Brunei becomes the sixth member of the Association of Southeast As ...
), Ofgas (
1986 The year 1986 was designated as the International Year of Peace by the United Nations. Events January * January 1 **Aruba gains increased autonomy from the Netherlands by separating from the Netherlands Antilles. **Spain and Portugal enter ...
), and the National Rivers Authority (
1989 File:1989 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: The Cypress structure collapses as a result of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred on California's Central Coast on October 17 at local time. The shock w ...
). There was no clear pattern to the degree of competition, regulation, and performance among the privatised industries. In most cases, privatisation benefited consumers in terms of lower prices and improved efficiency, but results overall have been mixed. Not all privatised companies have had successful share price trajectories in the longer term. A 2010 review by the IEA states: "[]t does seem to be the case that once competition and/or effective regulation was introduced, performance improved markedly ..But I hasten to emphasise again that the literature is not unanimous." Thatcher always resisted privatising British Rail and was said to have told Transport Secretary Nicholas Ridley: "Railway privatisation will be the Waterloo of this government. Please never mention the railways to me again." Shortly before her resignation in 1990, she accepted the arguments for privatisation, which her successor John Major implemented in 1994. The privatisation of public assets was combined with financial deregulation to fuel economic growth. Chancellor Geoffrey Howe abolished the UK's exchange controls in 1979, which allowed more capital to be invested in foreign markets, and the
Big Bang The Big Bang event is a physical theory that describes how the Expansion of the universe, universe expanded from an initial state of high Energy density, density and temperature. Various Physical cosmology, cosmological models of the Big Ba ...
of 1986 removed many restrictions on the
London Stock Exchange London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a stock exchange in the City of London, England, United Kingdom. , the total market value of all companies trading on LSE was £3.9 trillion. Its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul ...
.


Northern Ireland

In 1980 and 1981,
Provisional Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republicanism, Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, fa ...
(PIRA) and
Irish National Liberation Army The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA, ga, Arm Saoirse Náisiúnta na hÉireann) is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group formed on 10 December 1974, during the 30-year period of conflict known as " the Troubles". The group se ...
(INLA) prisoners in Northern Ireland's
Maze Prison Her Majesty's Prison Maze (previously Long Kesh Detention Centre, and known colloquially as The Maze or H-Blocks) was a prison in Northern Ireland that was used to house alleged paramilitary prisoners during the The Troubles, Troubles from Augus ...
carried out hunger strikes to regain the status of political prisoners that had been removed in 1976 by the preceding Labour government.
Bobby Sands Robert Gerard Sands ( ga, Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh; 9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981) was a member (and leader in the Maze prison) of the Provisional Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisio ...
began the 1981 strike, saying that he would fast until death unless prison inmates won concessions over their living conditions. Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for the prisoners, having declared "Crime is crime is crime; it is not political". Nevertheless, the British government privately contacted republican leaders in a bid to bring the hunger strikes to an end. After the deaths of Sands and nine others, the strike ended. Some rights were restored to paramilitary prisoners, but not official recognition of political status. Violence in Northern Ireland escalated significantly during the hunger strikes. Thatcher narrowly escaped injury in an IRA assassination attempt at a Brighton hotel early in the morning on 12 October 1984. Five people were killed, including the wife of minister John Wakeham. Thatcher was staying at the hotel to prepare for the Conservative Party conference, which she insisted should open as scheduled the following day. She delivered her speech as planned, though rewritten from her original draft, in a move that was widely supported across the political spectrum and enhanced her popularity with the public. On 6 November 1981, Thatcher and
Taoiseach The Taoiseach is the head of government, or prime minister, of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. The office is appointed by the president of Ireland upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Oireachtas, Ireland's national legisl ...
(Irish prime minister)
Garret FitzGerald Garret Desmond FitzGerald (9 February 192619 May 2011) was an Irish Fine Gael politician, economist and barrister who served twice as Taoiseach, serving from 1981 to 1982 and 1982 to 1987. He served as Leader of Fine Gael from 1977 to 1987, and ...
had established the Anglo-Irish Inter-Governmental Council, a forum for meetings between the two governments. On 15 November 1985, Thatcher and FitzGerald signed the Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement, which marked the first time a British government had given the Republic of Ireland an advisory role in the governance of Northern Ireland. In protest, the Ulster Says No movement led by
Ian Paisley Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader who served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from 1971 to 2008 and Fir ...
attracted 100,000 to a rally in Belfast, Ian Gow, later assassinated by the PIRA, resigned as
Minister of State Minister of State is a title borne by politicians in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a Minister of State is a Minister (government), Junior Minister of government, who is assigned to assist a specific ...
in the
HM Treasury His Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), occasionally referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of Government of the United Kingdom, His Majesty's Government ...
, and all 15 Unionist MPs resigned their parliamentary seats; only one was not returned in the subsequent
by-elections A by-election, also known as a special election in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in No ...
on 23 January 1986.


Environment

Thatcher supported an active
climate protection Climate change mitigation is action to limit climate change by reducing Greenhouse gas emissions, emissions of greenhouse gases or Carbon sink, removing those gases from the atmosphere. The recent rise in global average temperature is mostly caus ...
policy; she was instrumental in the passing of the
Environmental Protection Act 1990 The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (initialism: EPA) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that defines, within England and Wales and Scotland, the fundamental structure and authority for waste management and con ...
, the founding of the Hadley Centre for Climate Research and Prediction, the establishment of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations. Its job is to advance scientific knowledge about climate change Attribution of recent climate change, caused by human activities. The Worl ...
, and the ratification of the
Montreal Protocol The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually made by and between sovereign states, but can include international organizat ...
on preserving the
ozone Ozone (), or trioxygen, is an inorganic molecule with the chemical formula . It is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic Allotropy, allotrope , breaking down i ...
. Thatcher helped to put
climate change In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate variability and change, Climate change in a broader sense also includes ...
,
acid rain Acid rain is rain or any other form of Precipitation (meteorology), precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it has elevated levels of hydrogen ions (low pH). Most water, including drinking water, has a neutral pH that exists b ...
and general pollution in the British mainstream in the late 1980s, calling for a global treaty on climate change in 1989. Her speeches included one to the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, ...
in 1988, followed by another to the
UN General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), serving as the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the UN. Curr ...
in 1989.


Foreign affairs

Thatcher appointed Lord Carrington, an ennobled member of the party and former
Secretary of State for Defence The secretary of state for defence, also referred to as the defence secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for the business of the Ministry o ...
, to run the
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy A State (polity), state's foreign policy or external policy (as opposed to internal or domestic policy) is its objectives and activities in relation to its interactions with other states, unio ...
in 1979. Although considered a "wet", he avoided domestic affairs and got along well with Thatcher. One issue was what to do with
Rhodesia Rhodesia (, ), officially from 1970 the Republic of Rhodesia, was an unrecognised state in Southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was the ''de facto'' Succession of states, successor state to th ...
, where the white-minority had determined to rule the prosperous, black-majority breakaway colony in the face of overwhelming international criticism. With the 1975 Portuguese collapse in the continent, South Africa (which had been Rhodesia's chief supporter) realised that their ally was a liability; black rule was inevitable, and the Thatcher government brokered a peaceful solution to end the
Rhodesian Bush War The Rhodesian Bush War, also called the Second as well as the Zimbabwe War of Liberation, was a civil conflict from July 1964 to December 1979 in the List of states with limited recognition, unrecognised country of Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe-Rh ...
in December 1979 via the
Lancaster House Agreement The Lancaster House Agreement, signed on 21 December 1979, declared a ceasefire, ending the Rhodesian Bush War; and directly led to Rhodesia achieving internationally recognised independence as Zimbabwe. It required the full resumption of di ...
. The conference at Lancaster House was attended by Rhodesian prime minister
Ian Smith Ian Douglas Smith (8 April 1919 – 20 November 2007) was a Rhodesian politician, farmer, and fighter pilot who served as Prime Minister of Rhodesia, Prime Minister of Rhodesia (known as Southern Rhodesia until October 1964 and now known ...
, as well as by the key black leaders: Muzorewa, Mugabe,
Nkomo Nkomo may refer to: * John Nkomo (1934–2013), 3rd Vice-President of Zimbabwe, Second Vice-President of Zimbabwe (2009–2013) * Joshua Nkomo (1917–1999), 1st Vice-President of Zimbabwe, Second Vice-President of Zimbabwe (1987–1999) * Nkwenkwe ...
and Tongogara. The result was the new Zimbabwean nation under black rule in 1980.


Cold War

Thatcher's first foreign-policy crisis came with the 1979
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
. She condemned the invasion, said it showed the bankruptcy of a détente policy and helped convince some British athletes to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics. She gave weak support to US president Jimmy Carter who tried to punish the USSR with economic sanctions. Britain's economic situation was precarious, and most of NATO was reluctant to cut trade ties. Thatcher nevertheless gave the go-ahead for
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...
to approve
MI6 The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 ( Military Intelligence, Section 6), is the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as ...
(along with the SAS) to undertake "disruptive action" in Afghanistan. As well working with the CIA in
Operation Cyclone Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and finance the Afghan mujahideen in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1992, prior to and during the Soviet–Afghan War, military intervention b ...
, they also supplied weapons, training and intelligence to the ''
mujaheddin ''Mujahideen'', or ''Mujahidin'' ( ar, مُجَاهِدِين, mujāhidīn), is the plural form of ''mujahid'' ( ar, مجاهد, mujāhid, strugglers or strivers or justice, right conduct, Godly rule, etc. doers of jihād), an Arabic term t ...
''. The ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray ba ...
'' reported in 2011 that her government had secretly supplied Iraq under Saddam Hussein with "non-lethal" military equipment since 1981. Having withdrawn formal recognition from the Pol Pot regime in 1979, the Thatcher government backed the
Khmer Rouge The Khmer Rouge (; ; km, ខ្មែរក្រហម, ; ) is the name that was popularly given to members of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) and by extension to the Democratic Kampuchea, regime through which the CPK ruled Cambodia ...
keeping their UN seat after they were ousted from power in Cambodia by the
Cambodian–Vietnamese War The Cambodian–Vietnamese War ( km, សង្គ្រាមកម្ពុជា-វៀតណាម, vi, Chiến tranh Campuchia–Việt Nam), known in Vietnam as the Counter-offensive on the Southwestern border ( vi, Chiến dịch Phản ...
. Although Thatcher denied it at the time, it was revealed in 1991 that, while not directly training any Khmer Rouge, from 1983 the
Special Air Service The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. It was founded as a regiment in 1941 by David Stirling and in 1950, it was reconstituted as a corps. The unit specialises in a number of roles including counter-terro ...
(SAS) was sent to secretly train "the armed forces of the Cambodian non-communist resistance" that remained loyal to Prince
Norodom Sihanouk Norodom Sihanouk (; km, នរោត្តម សីហនុ, ; 31 October 192215 October 2012) was a Cambodian statesman, Sangkum and FUNCINPEC politician, Norodom Sihanouk filmography, film director, and composer who led Cambodia in vari ...
and his former prime minister Son Sann in the fight against the Vietnamese-backed puppet regime. Thatcher was one of the first Western leaders to respond warmly to reformist Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (2 March 1931 – 30 August 2022) was a Soviet politician who served as the 8th and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country's dissolution in 1991. He served a ...
. Following Reagan–Gorbachev summit meetings and reforms enacted by Gorbachev in the USSR, she declared in November 1988 that "We're not in a Cold War now", but rather in a "new relationship much wider than the Cold War ever was". She went on a state visit to the Soviet Union in 1984 and met with Gorbachev and Council of Ministers chairman
Nikolai Ryzhkov Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov ( uk, Микола Іванович Рижков; russian: Николай Иванович Рыжков; born 28 September 1929) is a Soviet, and later Russian, politician. He served as the last Premier of the Soviet ...
.


Ties with the US

Despite opposite personalities, Thatcher bonded quickly with US president
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician, actor, and union leader who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He also served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 ...
. She gave strong support to the Reagan administration's Cold War policies based on their shared distrust of communism. A sharp disagreement came in 1983 when Reagan did not consult with her on the
invasion of Grenada The United States invasion of Grenada began at dawn on 25 October 1983. The United States and a Caribbean Peace Force, coalition of six Caribbean nations invaded the island nation of Grenada, north of Venezuela. Codenamed Operation Urgent Fur ...
. During her first year as prime minister she supported
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
's decision to deploy US nuclear cruise and
Pershing II The Pershing II Weapon System was a solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missile designed and built by Martin Marietta to replace the Pershing 1a Field Artillery Missile System as the United States Army's primary nuclear-capable t ...
missiles in Western Europe, permitting the US to station more than 160 cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common, starting in November 1983 and triggering mass protests by the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is an organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nucle ...
. She bought the Trident nuclear missile submarine system from the US to replace Polaris, tripling the UK's nuclear forces at an eventual cost of more than £12 billion (at 1996–97 prices). Thatcher's preference for defence ties with the US was demonstrated in the Westland affair of 1985–86, when she acted with colleagues to allow the struggling helicopter manufacturer Westland to refuse a takeover offer from the Italian firm
Agusta Agusta was an Italian helicopter manufacturer. It was based in Samarate, Northern Italy. The company was founded by Count Giovanni Agusta in 1923, who flew his first airplane in 1907. The MV Agusta motorcycle manufacturer began as an offshoot o ...
in favour of the management's preferred option, a link with
Sikorsky Aircraft Sikorsky Aircraft is an American aircraft manufacturer based in Stratford, Connecticut. It was established by aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky in 1923 and was among the first companies to manufacture helicopters for civilian and military use. ...
. Defence Secretary
Michael Heseltine Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, (; born 21 March 1933) is a British politician and businessman. Having begun his career as a property developer, he became one of the founders of the publishing house Haymarket Media Group, Haymar ...
, who had supported the Agusta deal, resigned from the government in protest. In April 1986 she permitted US F-111s to use
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the World War I, First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal ...
bases for the bombing of Libya in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing of a Berlin discothèque, citing the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Polls suggested that fewer than one in three British citizens approved of her decision. Thatcher was in the US on a state visit when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. During her talks with President George H. W. Bush, who succeeded Reagan in 1989, she recommended intervention, and put pressure on Bush to deploy troops in the Middle East to drive the
Iraqi Army The Iraqi Ground Forces (Arabic: القوات البرية العراقية), or the Iraqi Army (Arabic: الجيش العراقي), is the ground force component of the Iraqi Armed Forces. It was known as the Royal Iraqi Army up until the 14 Jul ...
out of Kuwait. Bush was apprehensive about the plan, prompting Thatcher to remark to him during a telephone conversation: "This was no time to go wobbly!" Thatcher's government supplied military forces to the international coalition in the build-up to the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
, but she had resigned by the time hostilities began on 17 January 1991. She applauded the coalition victory on the backbenches, while warning that "the victories of peace will take longer than the battles of war". It was disclosed in 2017 that Thatcher had suggested threatening Saddam with
chemical weapon A chemical weapon (CW) is a specialized Ammunition, munition that uses chemicals chemical engineering, formulated to inflict death or harm on humans. According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), this can be an ...
s after the invasion of Kuwait.


Crisis in the South Atlantic

On 2 April 1982, the ruling military junta in Argentina ordered the invasion of the British possessions of the
Falkland Islands The Falkland Islands (; es, Islas Malvinas, link=no ) is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about east of South America's southern Patagonian coast and about fro ...
and
South Georgia South Georgia ( es, Isla San Pedro) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean that is part of the British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It lies around east of ...
, triggering the Falklands War. The subsequent crisis was "a defining moment of premiership". At the suggestion of Harold Macmillan and Robert Armstrong, she set up and chaired a small
War Cabinet A war cabinet is a committee formed by a government in a time of war to efficiently and effectively conduct that war. It is usually a subset of the full executive cabinet of ministers, although it is quite common for a war cabinet to have senior ...
(formally called ODSA, Overseas and Defence committee, South Atlantic) to oversee the conduct of the war, which by 5–6 April had authorised and dispatched a naval task force to retake the islands. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and ''Operation Corporate'' was hailed a success, notwithstanding the deaths of 255 British servicemen and 3 Falkland Islanders. Argentine fatalities totalled 649, half of them after the nuclear-powered submarine torpedoed and sank the cruiser on 2 May. Thatcher was criticised for the neglect of the Falklands' defence that led to the war, and especially by Labour MP
Tam Dalyell Sir Thomas Dalyell, 11th Baronet, , ( ; 9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), known as Tam Dalyell, was a Scottish Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician who was a member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons from 19 ...
in Parliament for the decision to torpedo the ''General Belgrano'', but overall she was considered a competent and committed war leader. The " Falklands factor", an economic recovery beginning early in 1982, and a bitterly divided opposition all contributed to Thatcher's second election victory in
1983 The year 1983 saw both the official beginning of the Internet and the first mobile cellular telephone call. Events January * January 1 – The migration of the ARPANET to Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP is officially completed (this is consid ...
. Thatcher frequently referred after the war to the "Falklands spirit"; suggests that this reflected her preference for the streamlined decision-making of her War Cabinet over the painstaking deal-making of peacetime cabinet government.


Negotiating Hong Kong

In September 1982 she visited China to discuss with
Deng Xiaoping Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a Chinese revolutionary leader, military commander and statesman who served as the paramount leader of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) from December 1978 to November 1989. Aft ...
the sovereignty of Hong Kong after 1997. China was the first communist state Thatcher had visited as prime minister, and she was the first British prime minister to visit China. Throughout their meeting, she sought the PRC's agreement to a continued British presence in the territory. Deng insisted that the PRC's sovereignty over Hong Kong was non-negotiable but stated his willingness to settle the sovereignty issue with the British government through formal negotiations. Both governments promised to maintain Hong Kong's stability and prosperity. After the two-year negotiations, Thatcher conceded to the PRC government and signed the
Sino-British Joint Declaration The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a treaty between the governments of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off t ...
in Beijing in 1984, agreeing to hand over Hong Kong's sovereignty in 1997.


Apartheid in South Africa

Despite saying that she was in favour of "peaceful negotiations" to end
apartheid Apartheid (, especially South African English: , ; , "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the So ...
, Thatcher opposed sanctions imposed on South Africa by the Commonwealth and the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
(EEC). She attempted to preserve trade with South Africa while persuading its government to abandon apartheid. This included " sting herself as President Botha's candid friend", and inviting him to visit the UK in 1984, in spite of the "inevitable demonstrations" against his government. Alan Merrydew of the Canadian broadcaster BCTV News asked Thatcher what her response was "to a reported ANC statement that they will target British firms in South Africa?" to which she later replied: " ..when the ANC says that they will target British companies ..This shows what a typical terrorist organisation it is. I fought terrorism all my life and if more people fought it, and we were all more successful, we should not have it and I hope that everyone in this hall will think it is right to go on fighting terrorism." During his visit to Britain five months after his release from prison,
Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African Internal resistance to apartheid, anti-apartheid activist who served as the President of South Africa, first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1 ...
praised Thatcher: "She is an enemy of apartheid ..We have much to thank her for."


Europe

Thatcher and her party supported British membership of the EEC in the 1975 national referendum and the
Single European Act The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Economic Community, European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, and a forerunner of the Eur ...
of 1986, and obtained the UK rebate on contributions, but she believed that the role of the organisation should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that the EEC approach was at odds with her views on smaller government and deregulation. Believing that the single market would result in political integration, Thatcher's opposition to further
European integration European integration is the process of industrial, economic integration, economic, political, legal, social integration, social, and cultural Regional integration, integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integrat ...
became more pronounced during her premiership and particularly after her third government in 1987. In her Bruges speech in 1988, Thatcher outlined her opposition to proposals from the EEC, forerunner of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
, for a federal structure and increased centralisation of decision-making: Sharing the concerns of French president
François Mitterrand François Marie Adrien Maurice Mitterrand (26 October 19168 January 1996) was President of France The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the executive ...
, Thatcher was initially opposed to
German reunification German reunification (german: link=no, Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process of re-establishing Germany as a united and fully sovereign state, which took place between 2 May 1989 and 15 March 1991. The day of 3 October 1990 when the Ge ...
, telling Gorbachev that it "would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security". She expressed concern that a united Germany would align itself more closely with the Soviet Union and move away from NATO. In March 1990, Thatcher held a Chequers seminar on the subject of German reunification that was attended by members of her cabinet and historians such as Norman Stone, George Urban, Timothy Garton Ash and Gordon A. Craig. During the seminar, Thatcher described "what Urban called 'saloon bar
cliché A cliché ( or ) is an element of an artistic work, saying, or idea that has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being weird or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was consi ...
s' about the German character, including '
angst Angst is fear Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion in response to perception, perceiving or recognizing a danger or threat. Fear causes physiological changes that may produce behavioral reactions such as mounting an aggressive respons ...
, aggressiveness,
assertiveness Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive to defend a right point of view or a relevant statement. In the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it is a skill that can be learned and a mode of communi ...
, bullying,
egotism Egotism is defined as the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal features and importance distinguished by a person's amplified vision of one's self and self-importan ...
,
inferiority complex In psychology, an inferiority complex is an intense personal feeling of inadequacy, often resulting in the belief that one is in some way deficient, or inferior, to others. According to Alfred Adler, a feeling of inferiority may be brought ab ...
sentimentality Sentimentality originally indicated the reliance on feelings as a guide to truth, but in current usage the term commonly connotes a reliance on shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason. Moral sense theory, Sentimentalism in phil ...
. Those present were shocked to hear Thatcher's utterances and "appalled" at how she was "apparently unaware" about the post-war German collective guilt and Germans' attempts to work through their past. The words of the meeting were leaked by her foreign-policy advisor Charles Powell and, subsequently, her comments were met with fierce backlash and controversy. During the same month, German chancellor
Helmut Kohl Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (; 3 April 1930 – 16 June 2017) was a German politician who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and Leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998. Kohl's 16-year tenure is the longes ...
reassured Thatcher that he would keep her "informed of all his intentions about unification", and that he was prepared to disclose "matters which even his cabinet would not know".


Challenges to leadership and resignation

During her premiership Thatcher had the second-lowest average approval rating (40%) of any post-war prime minister. Since Nigel Lawson's resignation as Chancellor in October 1989, polls consistently showed that she was less popular than her party. A self-described conviction politician, Thatcher always insisted that she did not care about her poll ratings and pointed instead to her unbeaten election record. In December 1989, Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by the little-known backbench MP Sir Anthony Meyer. Of the 374 Conservative MPs eligible to vote, 314 voted for Thatcher and 33 for Meyer. Her supporters in the party viewed the result as a success and rejected suggestions that there was discontent within the party. Opinion polls in September 1990 reported that Labour had established a 14% lead over the Conservatives, and by November, the Conservatives had been trailing Labour for 18 months. These ratings, together with Thatcher's combative personality and tendency to override collegiate opinion, contributed to further discontent within her party. In July 1989, Thatcher removed Geoffrey Howe as
foreign secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, known as the foreign secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign, Commonwe ...
after he and Lawson had forced her to agree to a plan for Britain to join the
European Exchange Rate Mechanism The European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) is a system introduced by the European Economic Community on 1 January 1999 alongside the introduction of a currency union, single currency, the euro (replacing ERM 1 and the euro's predecessor ...
(ERM). Britain joined the ERM in October 1990. On 1 November 1990, Howe, by then the last remaining member of Thatcher's original 1979 cabinet, resigned as
deputy prime minister A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some countries, a Minister (government), government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to th ...
, ostensibly over her open hostility to moves towards
European monetary union The economic and monetary union (EMU) of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are ...
. In his resignation speech on 13 November, which was instrumental in Thatcher's downfall, Howe attacked Thatcher's openly dismissive attitude to the government's proposal for a new European currency competing against existing currencies (a " hard ECU"): On 14 November, Michael Heseltine mounted a challenge for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Opinion polls had indicated that he would give the Conservatives a national lead over Labour. Although Thatcher led on the first ballot with the votes of 204 Conservative MPs (54.8%) to 152 votes (40.9%) for Heseltine, with 16 abstentions, she was four votes short of the required 15% majority. A second ballot was therefore necessary. Thatcher initially declared her intention to "fight on and fight to win" the second ballot, but consultation with her cabinet persuaded her to withdraw. After holding an audience with the Queen, calling other world leaders, and making one final Commons speech, on 28 November she left Downing Street in tears. She reportedly regarded her ousting as a betrayal. Her resignation was a shock to many outside Britain, with such foreign observers as
Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger (; ; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat, and Geopolitics, geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (Unit ...
and Gorbachev expressing private consternation. Thatcher was replaced as head of government and party leader by Chancellor John Major, whose lead over Heseltine in the second ballot was sufficient for Heseltine to drop out. Major oversaw an upturn in Conservative support in the 17 months leading to the 1992 general election, and led the party to a fourth successive victory on 9 April 1992. Thatcher had lobbied for Major in the leadership contest against Heseltine, but her support for him waned in later years.


Later life


Return to backbenches (1990–1992)

Thatcher returned to the backbenches as a constituency parliamentarian after leaving the premiership. Her domestic approval rating recovered after her resignation, though public opinion remained divided on whether her government had been good for the country. Aged 66, she retired from the House of Commons at the 1992 general election, saying that leaving the Commons would allow her more freedom to speak her mind.


Post-Commons (1992–2003)

On leaving the Commons, Thatcher became the first former British prime minister to set up a foundation; the British wing of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation was dissolved in 2005 due to financial difficulties. She wrote two volumes of memoirs, '' The Downing Street Years'' (1993) and '' The Path to Power'' (1995). In 1991, she and her husband Denis moved to a house in
Chester Square Chester Square is an elongated residential garden square in London's Belgravia district. It was developed by the Duke of Westminster, Grosvenor family, as were the nearby Belgrave Square, Belgrave and Eaton Square. The square is named after th ...
, a residential garden square in central London's
Belgravia Belgravia () is a Districts of London, district in Central London, covering parts of the areas of both the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Belgravia was known as the 'Five Fields' Tudor Period, during the ...
district. Thatcher was hired by the tobacco company Philip Morris as a "geopolitical consultant" in July 1992, for $250,000 per year and an annual contribution of $250,000 to her foundation. Thatcher earned $50,000 for each speech she delivered. Thatcher became an advocate of Croatian and Slovenian independence. Commenting on the
Yugoslav Wars The Yugoslav Wars were a series of separate but related#Naimark, Naimark (2003), p. xvii. ethnic conflicts, wars of independence, and Insurgency, insurgencies that took place in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, SFR Yugoslavia from ...
, in a 1991 interview for
Croatian Radiotelevision ''Hrvatska radiotelevizija'' (abbr. HRT), or Croatian Radiotelevision, is Croatia's public broadcasting company. It operates several radio and television channels, over a domestic transmitter network as well as satellite. HRT is divided into thr ...
, she was critical of Western governments for not recognising the breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia as independent and for not supplying them with arms after the Serbian-led
Yugoslav Army The Yugoslav People's Army (abbreviated as JNA/; Macedonian language, Macedonian and sr-Cyrl-Latn, Југословенска народна армија, Jugoslovenska narodna armija; Croatian language, Croatian and bs, Jugoslavenska narodn ...
attacked. In August 1992 she called for NATO to stop the Serbian assault on Goražde and
Sarajevo Sarajevo ( ; cyrl, Сарајево, ; ''see Names of European cities in different languages (Q–T)#S, names in other languages'') is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 275,524 in its a ...
, to end
ethnic cleansing Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial, and religious groups from a given area, with the intent of making a region ethnically homogeneous. Along with direct removal, extermination, deportation or population transfer ...
during the
Bosnian War The Bosnian War ( sh, Rat u Bosni i Hercegovini / Рат у Босни и Херцеговини) was an international armed conflict that took place in Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. The war ...
, comparing the situation in Bosnia–Herzegovina to "the barbarities of Hitler's and Stalin's". She made a series of speeches in the Lords criticising the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
, describing it as "a treaty too far" and stated: "I could never have signed this treaty." She cited A. V. Dicey when arguing that, as all three main parties were in favour of the treaty, the people should have their say in a referendum. Thatcher served as honorary
chancellor Chancellor ( la, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the or lattice work screens of a basilica or law cou ...
of the
College of William & Mary The College of William & Mary (officially The College of William and Mary in Virginia, Abbreviation, abbreviated as William & Mary, W&M) is a public university, public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by letters pa ...
in Virginia from 1993 to 2000, while also serving as chancellor of the private
University of Buckingham , mottoeng = Flying on Our Own Wings , established = 1973; as university college In a number of countries, a university college is a college institution that provides tertiary education but does not have full or indep ...
from 1992 to 1998, a university she had formally opened in 1976 as the former education secretary. After
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
's election as Labour Party leader in 1994, Thatcher praised Blair as "probably the most formidable
Labour leader The ''Labour Leader'' was a British socialist newspaper published for almost one hundred years. It was later renamed ''New Leader'' and ''Socialist Leader'', before finally taking the name ''Labour Leader'' again. 19th century The origins of the ...
since
Hugh Gaitskell Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell (9 April 1906 – 18 January 1963) was a British politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition from 1955 ...
", adding: "I see a lot of socialism behind their front bench, but not in Mr Blair. I think he genuinely has moved." Blair responded in kind: "She was a thoroughly determined person, and that is an admirable quality." In 1998, Thatcher called for the release of former Chilean dictator
Augusto Pinochet Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (, , , ; 25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chilean Captain general#Chile, general who ruled Military dictatorship of Chile (1973–1990), Chile from 1973 to 1990, first as the leader of the Gover ...
when Spain had him arrested and sought to try him for human rights violations. She cited the help he gave Britain during the Falklands War. In 1999, she visited him while he was under house arrest near London. Pinochet was released in March 2000 on medical grounds by Home Secretary
Jack Straw John Whitaker Straw (born 3 August 1946) is a British politician who served in the Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the Labour governments of Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician ...
. At the 2001 general election, Thatcher supported the Conservative campaign, as she had done in 1992 and 1997, and in the Conservative leadership election following its defeat, she endorsed
Iain Duncan Smith Sir George Iain Duncan Smith (born George Ian Duncan Smith; 9 April 1954), often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the O ...
over
Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Harry Clarke, Baron Clarke of Nottingham, (born 2 July 1940), often known as Ken Clarke, is a British politician who served as Home Secretary from 1992 to 1993 and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1993 to 1997 as well as serving as de ...
. In 2002 she encouraged
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, Bush family, and son of the 41st ...
to aggressively tackle the "unfinished business" of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and praised Blair for his "strong, bold leadership" in standing with Bush in the
Iraq War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Iraq War , partof = the Iraq conflict (2003–present), Iraq conflict and the War on terror , image = Iraq War montage.png , image_size = 300px , caption ...
. She broached the same subject in her '' Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World'', which was published in April 2002 and dedicated to Ronald Reagan, writing that there would be no peace in the Middle East until Saddam was toppled. Her book also said that Israel must trade land for peace and that the European Union (EU) was a "fundamentally unreformable", "classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure". She argued that Britain should renegotiate its terms of membership or else leave the EU and join the North American Free Trade Area. Following several small strokes she was advised by her doctors not to engage in further public speaking. In March 2002 she announced that, on doctors' advice, she would cancel all planned speaking engagements and accept no more. On 26 June 2003, Thatcher's husband Sir Denis died aged 88; he was cremated on 3 July at Mortlake Crematorium in London.


Final years (2003–2013)

On 11 June 2004, Thatcher (against doctors' orders) attended the state funeral service for Ronald Reagan. She delivered her eulogy via videotape; in view of her health, the message had been pre-recorded several months earlier. Thatcher flew to California with the Reagan entourage, and attended the memorial service and interment ceremony for the president at the
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is the repository of presidential records from the administration of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, and the burial place of the president and first lady, Nancy Reagan. It is the larg ...
. In 2005, Thatcher criticised how Blair had decided to invade Iraq two years previously. Although she still supported the intervention to topple Saddam Hussein, she said that (as a scientist) she would always look for "facts, evidence and proof" before committing the armed forces. She celebrated her 80th birthday on 13 October at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in
Hyde Park, London Hyde Park is a Listed building#Heritage protection, Grade I-listed major park in Westminster, Greater London, the largest of the four Royal Parks of London, Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance to Kensington Palace through Kensingt ...
; guests included the Queen, the
Duke of Edinburgh Duke of Edinburgh, named after the city of Edinburgh in Scotland, was a substantive title that has been created three times since 1726 for members of the British royal family. It does not include any territorial landholdings and does not produc ...
, Princess Alexandra and Tony Blair. Geoffrey Howe, Baron Howe of Aberavon, was also in attendance and said of his former leader: "Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two, so that when Labour did eventually return, the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible." In 2006, Thatcher attended the official Washington, D.C. memorial service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the
11 September attacks The September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11, were four coordinated Suicide attack, suicide List of terrorist incidents, terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, ...
on the US. She was a guest of vice-president
Dick Cheney Richard Bruce Cheney ( ; born January 30, 1941) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 46th vice president of the United States from 2001 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. He is currently the oldest living former U ...
and met secretary of state
Condoleezza Rice Condoleezza Rice ( ; born November 14, 1954) is an American diplomat and political scientist Political science is the science, scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the ...
during her visit. In February 2007 Thatcher became the first living British prime minister to be honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament. The bronze statue stood opposite that of her political hero, Winston Churchill, and was unveiled on 21 February 2007 with Thatcher in attendance; she remarked in the Members' Lobby of the Commons: "I might have preferred iron – but bronze will do ..It won't rust." Thatcher was a public supporter of the
Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism The Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism was a declaration which was initiated by the Czech government and signed on 3 June 2008 by prominent European politicians, former political prisoners and historians, among them former ...
and the resulting Prague Process, and sent a public letter of support to its preceding conference. After collapsing at a
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
dinner, Thatcher, suffering
low blood pressure Hypotension is low blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. Blood pressure is indicated by two numbers, the Systole, systolic blood pressure (the top number) and ...
, was admitted to
St Thomas' Hospital St Thomas' Hospital is a large National Health Service, NHS teaching hospital in Central London, England. It is one of the institutions that compose the King's Health Partners, an academic health science centre. Administratively part of the Guy' ...
in central London on 7 March 2008 for tests. In 2009 she was hospitalised again when she fell and broke her arm. Thatcher returned to 10 Downing Street in late November 2009 for the unveiling of an official portrait by artist
Richard Stone Sir John Richard Nicholas Stone (30 August 1913 – 6 December 1991) was an eminent United Kingdom, British economist, educated at Westminster School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College and King's College, Ca ...
, an unusual honour for a living former prime minister. Stone was previously commissioned to paint portraits of the Queen and
Queen Mother A queen mother is a former queen, often a queen dowager, who is the mother of the monarch, reigning monarch. The term has been used in English since the early 1560s. It arises in hereditary monarchy, hereditary monarchies in Europe and is also u ...
. On 4 July 2011, Thatcher was to attend a ceremony for the unveiling of a statue to Ronald Reagan, outside the US Embassy in London, but was unable to attend due to her frail health. She last attended a sitting of the House of Lords on 19 July 2010, and on 30 July 2011 it was announced that her office in the Lords had been closed. Earlier that month, Thatcher was named the most competent prime minister of the past 30 years in an
Ipsos MORI Ipsos MORI was the name of a market research company based in London, England which is now known as Ipsos and still continues as the UK arm of the global Ipsos group. It was formed by a merger of Ipsos UK and MORI in October 2005. The company i ...
poll. Thatcher's daughter Carol first revealed that her mother had
dementia Dementia is a disorder which manifests as a Syndrome, set of related symptoms, which usually surfaces when the brain is damaged by injury or disease. The symptoms involve progressive impairments in memory, thinking, and behavior, which negativ ...
in 2005, saying "Mum doesn't read much any more because of her memory loss". In her 2008 memoir, Carol wrote that her mother "could hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end". She later recounted how she was first struck by her mother's dementia when, in conversation, Thatcher confused the Falklands and Yugoslav conflicts; she recalled the pain of needing to tell her mother repeatedly that her husband Denis was dead.


Death and funeral (2013)

Thatcher died on 8 April 2013, at the age of 87, after suffering a stroke. She had been staying at a suite in the Ritz Hotel in London since December 2012 after having difficulty with stairs at her Chester Square home in Belgravia. Her death certificate listed the primary causes of death as a "cerebrovascular accident" and "repeated transient ischaemic attack"; secondary causes were listed as a "
carcinoma Carcinoma is a malignancy that develops from epithelial cells. Specifically, a carcinoma is a cancer that begins in a tissue that lines the inner or outer surfaces of the body, and that arises from cells originating in the endodermal, mesodermal ...
of the bladder" and dementia. Reactions to the news of Thatcher's death were mixed across the UK, ranging from tributes lauding her as Britain's greatest-ever peacetime prime minister to public celebrations of her death and expressions of hatred and personalised vitriol. Details of Thatcher's funeral had been agreed with her in advance. She received a ceremonial funeral, including full military honours, with a church service at
St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London ...
on 17 April. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh attended her funeral, marking only the second time in the Queen's reign that she attended the funeral of any of her former prime ministers, after that of Churchill, who received a
state funeral A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of Etiquette, protocol, held to honour people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive ...
in 1965. After the service at St Paul's, Thatcher's body was cremated at Mortlake, where her husband had been cremated. On 28 September, a service for Thatcher was held in the All Saints Chapel of the
Royal Hospital Chelsea The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for some 300 veterans of the British Army. Founded as an almshouse, the ancient sense of the word "hospital", it is a site located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, London, Che ...
's Margaret Thatcher Infirmary. In a private ceremony, Thatcher's ashes were interred in the hospital's grounds, next to her husband's.


Legacy


Political impact

Thatcherism represented a systematic and decisive overhaul of the
post-war consensus The post-war consensus, sometimes called the post-war compromise, was the Economic system, economic order and social model of which the major political parties in Postwar Britain (1945–1979), post-war Britain shared a consensus supporting vie ...
, whereby the major political parties largely agreed on the central themes of
Keynesianism Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
, the
welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equa ...
, nationalised industry, and close regulation of the economy, and high taxes. Thatcher generally supported the welfare state while proposing to rid it of abuses. She promised in 1982 that the highly popular
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
was "safe in our hands". At first, she ignored the question of privatising nationalised industries; heavily influenced by right-wing think tanks, and especially by Sir Keith Joseph, Thatcher broadened her attack. Thatcherism came to refer to her policies as well as aspects of her ethical outlook and personal style, including
moral absolutism Moral absolutism is an ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of morality, right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Phil ...
,
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
, liberal individualism, and an uncompromising approach to achieving political goals. Thatcher defined her own political philosophy, in a major and controversial break with the
one-nation conservatism One-nation conservatism, also known as one-nationism or Tory democracy, is a Paternalistic conservatism, paternalistic form of British Conservatism, political conservatism. It advocates the preservation of established institutions and traditi ...
of her predecessor Edward Heath, in a 1987 interview published in ''
Woman's Own ''Woman's Own'' is a British lifestyle magazine aimed at women. Publication ''Woman's Own'' was first published in 1932 by Newnes (publisher), Newnes. In its early years it placed women's rights and social problems firmly in the foreground. Its fi ...
'' magazine:


Overview

The number of adults owning shares rose from 7 per cent to 25 per cent during her tenure, and more than a million families bought their council houses, giving an increase from 55 per cent to 67 per cent in
owner-occupier Owner-occupancy or home-ownership is a form of housing tenure in which a person, called the owner-occupier, owner-occupant, or home owner, owns the home in which they live. The home can be a house, such as a single-family detached home, single-fa ...
s from 1979 to 1990. The houses were sold at a discount of 33–55 per cent, leading to large profits for some new owners. Personal wealth rose by 80 per cent in real terms during the 1980s, mainly due to rising house prices and increased earnings. Shares in the privatised utilities were sold below their market value to ensure quick and wide sales, rather than maximise national income. The "Thatcher years" were also marked by periods of high unemployment and social unrest, and many critics on the left of the political spectrum fault her economic policies for the unemployment level; many of the areas affected by mass unemployment as well as her
monetarist Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on measures ...
economic policies remained blighted for decades, by such social problems as
drug abuse Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is the use of a drug in amounts or by methods which are harmful to the individual or others. It is a form of substance-related disorder. Differing definitions of drug abuse are used in public health, ...
and family breakdown. Unemployment did not fall below its May 1979 level during her tenure, only falling below its April 1979 level in 1990. The long-term effects of her policies on manufacturing remain contentious. Speaking in Scotland in 2009, Thatcher insisted she had no regrets and was right to introduce the poll tax and withdraw subsidies from "outdated industries, whose markets were in terminal decline", subsidies that created "the culture of dependency, which had done such damage to Britain". Political economist Susan Strange termed the neoliberal financial growth model "casino capitalism", reflecting her view that speculation and financial trading were becoming more important to the economy than industry. Critics on the left describe her as divisive and say she condoned greed and selfishness. Leading Welsh politician
Rhodri Morgan Hywel Rhodri Morgan (29 September 1939 – 17 May 2017) was a Welsh Labour politician who was the First Minister of Wales and the Leader of Welsh Labour from 2000 to 2009. He was also the Senedd, Assembly Member for Cardiff West (Senedd constitu ...
, among others, characterised Thatcher as a "
Marmite Marmite ( ) is a British savoury food spread based on yeast extract, invented by the German scientist Justus von Liebig Justus Freiherr von Liebig (12 May 1803 – 20 April 1873) was a German scientist who made major contributions to a ...
" figure. Journalist Michael White, writing in the aftermath of the 2007–08 financial crisis, challenged the view that her reforms were still a net benefit. Others consider her approach to have been "a mixed bag" and " Curate's egg". Thatcher did "little to advance the political cause of women" either within her party or the government. Some
British feminists British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
regarded her as "an enemy".
June Purvis June Purvis is an emeritus professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an Academy, academic rank at university, universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. Literally, ''professor' ...
of ''
Women's History Review ''Women's History Review'' is a bimonthly peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (:wiktionary:peer#Etymology 2, peers). It functions as a form of self- ...
'' says that, although Thatcher had struggled laboriously against the sexist prejudices of her day to rise to the top, she made no effort to ease the path for other women. Thatcher did not regard
women's rights Women's rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls worldwide. They formed the basis for the women's rights movement in the 19th century and the feminist movements during the 20th and 21st centuries. In some countries, ...
as requiring particular attention as she did not, especially during her premiership, consider that women were being deprived of their rights. She had once suggested the shortlisting of women by default for all public appointments yet had also proposed that those with young children ought to leave the workforce. Thatcher's stance on
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as Permanent residency, permanent residents or Naturalization, naturalize ...
in the late 1970s was perceived as part of a rising racist public discourse, which Martin Barker terms " new racism". In opposition, Thatcher believed that the National Front (NF) was winning over large numbers of Conservative voters with warnings against floods of immigrants. Her strategy was to undermine the NF narrative by acknowledging that many of their voters had serious concerns in need of addressing. In 1978 she criticised Labour's immigration policy to attract voters away from the NF to the Conservatives. Her rhetoric was followed by an increase in Conservative support at the expense of the NF. Critics on the left accused her of pandering to racism. Many Thatcherite policies had an influence on the Labour Party, which returned to power in 1997 under Tony Blair. Blair rebranded the party "
New Labour New Labour was a period in the History of the Labour Party (UK), history of the British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party from the mid to late 1990s until 2010 under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The name dates from a conferenc ...
" in 1994 with the aim of increasing its appeal beyond its traditional supporters, and to attract those who had supported Thatcher, such as the " Essex man". Thatcher is said to have regarded the "New Labour" rebranding as her greatest achievement. In contrast to Blair, the Conservative Party under
William Hague William is a male Male (Mars symbol, symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexu ...
attempted to distance himself and the party from Thatcher's economic policies in an attempt to gain public approval. Shortly after Thatcher's death in 2013, Scottish first minister
Alex Salmond Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond (; born 31 December 1954) is a Scottish politician and economist who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 File:2007 Events Collage.png, From top left, clockwise: Steve Jobs unveils Apple Inc., Appl ...
argued that her policies had the "unintended consequence" of encouraging
Scottish devolution Devolution in the United Kingdom, Devolution is the process in which the central Parliament of the United Kingdom, British parliament grants administrative powers (excluding principally Devolved, reserved and excepted matters, reserved matters ...
. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock agreed on '' Scotland Tonight'' that she had provided "the impetus" for devolution. Writing for ''
The Scotsman ''The Scotsman'' is a Scottish compact (newspaper), compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until ...
'' in 1997, Thatcher argued against devolution on the basis that it would eventually lead to
Scottish independence Scottish independence ( gd, Neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba; sco, Scots unthirldom) is the idea of Scotland as a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom, and refers to the political movement that is campaigning to bring it about. S ...
.


Reputation

Thatcher's tenure of 11 years and 209 days as British prime minister was the longest since
Lord Salisbury Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (; 3 February 183022 August 1903) was a British statesman and Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times for a ...
(13 years and 252 days, in three spells) and the longest continuous period in office since
Lord Liverpool Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, (7 June 1770 – 4 December 1828) was a British Tory statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of t ...
(14 years and 305 days). Having led the Conservative Party to victory in three consecutive general elections, twice in a landslide, she ranks among the most popular party leaders in British history in terms of votes cast for the winning party; over 40 million ballots were cast in total for the party under her leadership. Her electoral successes were dubbed a "historic
hat trick A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. Hats which incorporate mecha ...
" by the British press in 1987. Thatcher ranked highest among living persons in the 2002 BBC poll ''
100 Greatest Britons ''100 Greatest Britons'' is a television series that was broadcast by the BBC in 2002. It was based on a television Opinion poll, poll conducted to determine who the British people at that time considered the greatest Britons in history. The seri ...
''. In 1999, ''Time'' deemed Thatcher one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. In 2015 she topped a poll by ''
Scottish Widows Scottish Widows is a life insurance and pensions company located in Edinburgh Edinburgh ( ; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of ...
'', a major financial services company, as the most influential woman of the past 200 years; and in 2016 topped
BBC Radio 4 BBC Radio 4 is a British national radio station owned and operated by the BBC #REDIRECT BBC Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought al ...
's ''
Woman's Hour ''Woman's Hour'' is a radio magazine programme broadcast in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-weste ...
Power List'' of women judged to have had the biggest impact on female lives over the past 70 years. In 2020, ''Time'' magazine included Thatcher's name on its list of 100 Women of the Year. She was chosen as the Woman of the Year 1982, the year in which the Falklands War began under her command and resulted in the British victory. In contrast to her relatively poor average approval rating as prime minister, Thatcher has since ranked highly in retrospective opinion polling and, according to
YouGov YouGov is a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In 2007, it acquired US company Polimetrix, and since ...
, is "see in overall positive terms" by the British public. Just after her death in 2013, according to a poll by ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
'', about half of the public viewed her positively while one third viewed her negatively. In a 2019 opinion poll by YouGov, most Britons rated her as Britain's greatest post-war leader (with Churchill coming second). According to the poll, more than four in ten Britons (44%) think that Thatcher was a "good" or "great" prime minister, compared to 29% who think she was a "poor" or "terrible" one. She was voted the fourth-greatest British prime minister of the 20th century in a 2011 poll of 139 academics organised by
MORI Mori is a Japanese language, Japanese and Italian language, Italian surname, and also a Persian language, Persian Hypocorism, pet name for Morteza. It is also the name of Mori clan (disambiguation), two clans in Japan, and Mori Rajputs, one clan in ...
. In a 2016
University of Leeds The University of Leeds is a public research university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was established in 1874 as the Yorkshire College of Science. In 1884 it merged with the Leeds School of Medicine (established 1831) and was renamed Yorks ...
survey of 82 academics specialising in post-1945 British history and politics, she was voted the second-greatest British prime minister after the Second World War.


Cultural depictions

According to theatre critic Michael Billington, Thatcher left an "emphatic mark" on the arts while prime minister. One of the earliest satires of Thatcher as prime minister involved satirist John Wells (as writer and performer), actress Janet Brown (voicing Thatcher) and future ''
Spitting Image ''Spitting Image'' is a television in the United Kingdom, British satire, satirical television puppet show, created by Peter Fluck, Roger Law and Martin Lambie-Nairn. First broadcast in 1984, the series was produced by 'Spitting Image Productio ...
'' producer John Lloyd (as co-producer), who in 1979 were teamed up by producer Martin Lewis for the satirical audio album ''The Iron Lady'', which consisted of skits and songs satirising Thatcher's rise to power. The album was released in September 1979. Thatcher was heavily satirised on ''Spitting Image'', and ''
The Independent ''The Independent'' is a British online newspaper. It was established in 1986 as a national morning printed paper. Nicknamed the ''Indy'', it began as a broadsheet and changed to Tabloid (newspaper format), tabloid format in 2003. The last p ...
'' labelled her "every stand-up's dream". Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for 1980s
protest song A protest song is a song that is associated with a movement for social change and hence part of the broader category of ''topical'' songs (or songs connected to current events). It may be folk, classical, or commercial in genre. Among social mov ...
s. Musicians
Billy Bragg Stephen William Bragg (born 20 December 1957) is an English singer-songwriter and left-wing politics, left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic t ...
and
Paul Weller Paul John Weller (born John William Weller; 25 May 1958) is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Weller achieved fame with the punk rock/ new wave/ mod revival band the Jam The Jam were an English mod revival/punk rock band forme ...
helped to form the
Red Wedge Red is the color at the long wavelength end of the visible spectrum The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, visible to the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavele ...
collective to support Labour in opposition to Thatcher. Known as "Maggie" by supporters and opponents alike, the chant song " Maggie Out" became a signature rallying cry among the left during the latter half of her premiership. Wells parodied Thatcher in several media. He collaborated with
Richard Ingrams Richard Reid Ingrams (born 19 August 1937 in Chelsea, London, Chelsea, London) is an English journalist, a co-founder and second editor of the British satire, satirical magazine ''Private Eye (magazine), Private Eye'', and founding editor of ' ...
on the spoof " Dear Bill" letters, which ran as a column in ''
Private Eye ''Private Eye'' is a British fortnightly satire, satirical and current affairs (news format), current affairs news magazine, founded in 1961. It is published in London and has been edited by Ian Hislop since 1986. The publication is widely r ...
'' magazine; they were also published in book form and became a West End stage revue titled ''Anyone for Denis?'', with Wells in the role of Thatcher's husband. It was followed by a 1982 TV special directed by Dick Clement, in which Thatcher was played by Angela Thorne. Since her premiership, Thatcher has been portrayed in a number of television programmes, documentaries, films and plays. She was portrayed by Patricia Hodge in Ian Curteis's long unproduced '' The Falklands Play'' (2002) and by
Andrea Riseborough Andrea Louise Riseborough (born 20 November 1981) is an English actress and producer. She made her film debut with a small part in ''Venus (2006 film), Venus'' (2006), and has since appeared in more prominent roles in ''Happy-Go-Lucky (2008 film ...
in the TV film '' The Long Walk to Finchley'' (2008). She is the protagonist in two films, played by Lindsay Duncan in ''Margaret'' (2009) and by
Meryl Streep Mary Louise Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) is an American actress. Often described as "the best actress of her generation", Streep is particularly known for her versatility and accent adaptability. She has received List of awards and nomina ...
in ''The Iron Lady'' (2011), in which she is depicted as suffering from dementia or
Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegeneration, neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in short-term me ...
. She is a main character in the fourth season of ''
The Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, British Overseas Territories, overseas territories, Provinces and territorie ...
'', played by
Gillian Anderson Gillian Leigh Anderson ( ; born August 9, 1968) is an American actress. Her credits include the roles of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the series '' The X-Files'', ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies's film '' The House of Mir ...
.


Titles, awards and honours

Thatcher became a
privy counsellor The Privy Council (PC), officially His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, is a privy council, formal body of advisers to the British monarchy, sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises Politics of the United King ...
(PC) on becoming a secretary of state in 1970. She was the first woman entitled to full membership rights as an honorary member of the
Carlton Club The Carlton Club is a Gentlemen's club, private members' club in St James's, London. It was the original home of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party before the creation of Conservative Campaign Headquarters, Conservative Central Of ...
on becoming Conservative Party leader in 1975. As prime minister, Thatcher received two honorary distinctions: * * Two weeks after her resignation, Thatcher was appointed Member of the
Order of Merit The Order of Merit (french: link=no, Ordre du Mérite) is an order of merit for the Commonwealth realms, recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by Ki ...
(OM) by the Queen. Her husband Denis was made a hereditary baronet at the same time; as his wife, Thatcher was entitled to use the honorific style "Lady", an automatically conferred title that she declined to use. She would be made Lady Thatcher in her own right on her subsequent
ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nobility to people; among them Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the papal nobility, Vatic ...
in the House of Lords. In the Falklands, Margaret Thatcher Day has been marked each 10 January since 1992, commemorating her first visit to the Islands in January 1983, six months after the end of the Falklands War in June 1982. Thatcher became a
member of the House of Lords This is a list of members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Current sitting members Lords Spiritual 26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords: the Archbishops of Archbishop of C ...
in 1992 with a
life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It ...
age as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire. Subsequently, the
College of Arms The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is a royal corporation consisting of professional Officer of Arms, officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the ...
granted her usage of a personal coat of arms; she was allowed to revise these arms on her appointment as
Lady of the Order of the Garter The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system, outranked in ...
(LG) in 1995, the highest order of
chivalry Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct developed in Europe between 1170 and 1220. It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood; knights' and gentlemen's behaviours were governed b ...
. In the US, Thatcher received the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award from the Reagan Presidential Foundation in 1998; she was designated a patron of
the Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation (abbreviated to Heritage) is an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. that is primarily geared toward public policy Public policy is an institutionalized proposal or a decided set of elements l ...
in 2006, where she established the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.


Publications

* * *


See also

* Cadby Hall *
Economic history of the United Kingdom The economic history of the United Kingdom relates the economic development In the economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consum ...
*
List of elected and appointed female heads of state and government The following is a list of women who have been elected or appointed head of state or government of their respective countries since the interwar period (1918–1939). The first list includes female presidents who are heads of state and may a ...
* Political history of the United Kingdom (1979–present) * Social history of the United Kingdom (1979–present)


References


Explanatory notes


Citations


General bibliography

* * ** * * * * * * * * * * ** * * ** * ** ** ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Thatcher, Margaret 1925 births 2013 deaths 20th-century Anglicans 20th-century British chemists 20th-century British women scientists 20th-century English lawyers 20th-century English non-fiction writers 20th-century English women writers 20th-century Methodists 20th-century prime ministers of the United Kingdom 21st-century Anglicans 21st-century English women writers Alumni of Somerville College, Oxford Alumni of the Inns of Court School of Law British anti-communists British people of the Falklands War British Secretaries of State for Education British women memoirists Chancellors of the College of William & Mary Conservative Party (UK) life peers Conservative Party (UK) MPs for English constituencies Conservative Party prime ministers of the United Kingdom Converts to Anglicanism from Methodism Critics of Marxism Dames of Justice of the Order of St John Deaths from bladder cancer Deaths from cancer in England Deaths from dementia in England English Anglicans English autobiographers English barristers English chemists English memoirists English Methodists English non-fiction writers English people of Irish descent English women chemists English women lawyers English women writers Fellows of Somerville College, Oxford Fellows of the Royal Institute of Chemistry Fellows of the Royal Society (Statute 12) Female critics of feminism Female Fellows of the Royal Society Female members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English constituencies The Heritage Foundation Ladies Companion of the Garter Leaders of the Conservative Party (UK) Leaders of the Opposition (United Kingdom) Life peeresses created by Elizabeth II Members of the Order of Merit Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom Ministers in the Macmillan and Douglas-Home governments, 1957–1964 National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children people People associated with the University of Buckingham People educated at Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School People from Grantham People of the Cold War Politicians awarded knighthoods Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients Presidents of the European Council Roberts, Margaret Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom Recipients of the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award Survivors of terrorist attacks UK MPs 1959–1964 UK MPs 1964–1966 UK MPs 1966–1970 UK MPs 1970–1974 UK MPs 1974 UK MPs 1974–1979 UK MPs 1979–1983 UK MPs 1983–1987 UK MPs 1987–1992 Wesleyan Methodists Wives of baronets Women opposition leaders Women Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom