141 Facts About Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher was the first female British prime minister and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century.


Margaret Thatcher studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, and worked briefly as a research chemist before becoming a barrister.


Margaret Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959.


On becoming prime minister after winning the 1979 general election, Margaret Thatcher introduced a series of economic policies intended to reverse high inflation and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an oncoming recession.


Margaret Thatcher was re-elected for a third term with another landslide in 1987, but her subsequent support for the Community Charge was widely unpopular, and her increasingly Eurosceptic views on the European Community were not shared by others in her cabinet.


Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister and party leader in 1990, after a challenge was launched to her leadership, and was succeeded by John Major, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


Margaret Thatcher's tenure constituted a realignment towards neoliberal policies in Britain, and the complicated legacy attributed to Thatcherism has been debated into the 21st century.


Margaret Thatcher Hilda Roberts was born on 13 October 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire.


Margaret Thatcher's parents were Alfred Roberts, from Northamptonshire, and Beatrice Ethel Stephenson, from Lincolnshire.


Margaret Thatcher's father's maternal grandmother, Catherine Sullivan, was born in County Kerry, Ireland.


Margaret Thatcher 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 angels, having calculated that they needed a breastbone 6 feet long to support wings.


Margaret Thatcher's dissertation was on the structure of the antibiotic gramicidin.


Margaret Thatcher received the degree of Master of Arts in 1950.


Margaret Thatcher was reportedly prouder of becoming the first prime minister with a science degree than becoming the first female prime minister.


Margaret Thatcher was influenced at university by political works such as Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, which condemned economic intervention by government as a precursor to an authoritarian state.


Margaret Thatcher married at Wesley's Chapel and her children were baptised there, but she and her husband began attending Church of England services and would later convert to Anglicanism.


Margaret Thatcher lost on both occasions to Norman Dodds but reduced the Labour majority by 6,000 and then a further 1,000.


In 1954, Margaret Thatcher was defeated when she sought selection to be the Conservative Party candidate for the Orpington by-election of January 1955.


Margaret Thatcher was elected as MP for the seat after a hard campaign in the 1959 election.


Margaret Thatcher was the youngest woman in history to receive such a post, and among the first MPs elected in 1959 to be promoted.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


At the 1966 Conservative Party conference, Margaret 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.


Margaret Thatcher was one of the few Conservative MPs to support Leo Abse's bill to decriminalise male homosexuality.


Margaret Thatcher voted in favour of David Steel's bill to legalise abortion, as well as a ban on hare coursing.


Margaret Thatcher supported the retention of capital punishment and voted against the relaxation of divorce laws.


In 1967, the United States Embassy chose Margaret Thatcher to take part in the International Visitor Leadership 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 description helped Margaret Thatcher meet with prominent people during a busy itinerary focused on economic issues, including Paul Samuelson, Walt Rostow, Pierre-Paul Schweitzer and Nelson Rockefeller.


When Heath telephoned Margaret 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".


Margaret Thatcher believed that his main points about Commonwealth immigration were correct and that the selected quotations from his speech had been taken out of context.


The Conservative Party, led by Edward Heath, won the 1970 general election, and Margaret Thatcher was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science.


Margaret Thatcher was highly criticised for the speed at which she carried this out.


Margaret Thatcher supported Lord Rothschild's 1971 proposal for market forces to affect government funding of research.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


Margaret Thatcher held that few children would suffer if schools were charged for milk but agreed to provide younger children with 0.3 imperial pints daily for nutritional purposes.


Margaret Thatcher argued that she was simply carrying on with what the Labour government had started since they had stopped giving free milk to secondary schools.


Margaret Thatcher's decision provoked a storm of protest from Labour and the press, leading to her being notoriously nicknamed "Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher".


Margaret Thatcher was not initially seen as the obvious replacement, but she eventually became the main challenger, promising a fresh start.


Margaret Thatcher defeated Heath on the first ballot, and he resigned from the leadership.


Margaret Thatcher's election had a polarising effect on the party; her support was stronger among MPs on the right, and among those from southern England, and those who had not attended public schools or Oxbridge.


Margaret Thatcher became Conservative Party leader and Leader of the Opposition on 11 February 1975; she appointed Whitelaw as her deputy.


Margaret Thatcher had already begun to work on her presentation on the advice of Gordon Reece, a former television producer.


Margaret Thatcher began attending lunches regularly at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank founded by poultry magnate Antony Fisher; she had been visiting the IEA and reading its publications since the early 1960s.


Margaret Thatcher intended to promote neoliberal economic ideas at home and abroad.


Consequently, Margaret Thatcher decided that as "her voice was carrying little weight at home", she would "be heard in the wider world".


Margaret Thatcher undertook visits across the Atlantic, establishing an international profile and promoting her economic and foreign policies.


Margaret Thatcher toured the United States in 1975 and met President Gerald Ford, visiting again in 1977, when she met President Jimmy Carter.


Margaret Thatcher chose to travel without being accompanied by her shadow foreign secretary, Reginald Maudling, in an attempt to make a bolder personal impact.


In domestic affairs, Margaret Thatcher opposed Scottish devolution and the creation of a Scottish Assembly.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


Margaret Thatcher reacted to this by branding the Labour government "chickens", and Liberal Party leader David Steel joined in, criticising Labour for "running scared".


The Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in the House of Commons, and Margaret Thatcher became the first female British prime minister.


In 1976, Margaret Thatcher gave her "Britain Awake" foreign policy speech which lambasted the Soviet Union, saying it was "bent on world dominance".


The Sunday Times covered the Red Star article the next day, and Margaret Thatcher embraced the epithet a week later; in a speech to Finchley Conservatives she likened it to the Duke of Wellington's nickname "The Iron Duke".


In office throughout the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher was frequently referred to as the most powerful woman in the world.


Margaret Thatcher was the Opposition leader and prime minister at a time of increased racial tension in Britain.


Margaret Thatcher said that she felt Thatcher's policies were "uncaring, confrontational and socially divisive".


Margaret Thatcher 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.


At the 1980 Conservative Party conference, Margaret Thatcher addressed the issue directly with a speech written by the playwright Ronald Millar, that notably included the following lines:.


The election saw Margaret Thatcher re-elected for a third successive term.


Margaret Thatcher had been firmly opposed to British membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, believing that it would constrain the British economy, despite the urging of both Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe; in October 1990 she was persuaded by John Major, Lawson's successor as chancellor, to join the ERM at what proved to be too high a rate.


Margaret Thatcher reformed local government taxes by replacing domestic rates with the Community Charge in which the same amount was charged to each adult resident.


Margaret Thatcher believed that the trade unions were harmful to both ordinary trade unionists and the public.


Margaret Thatcher was committed to reducing the power of the unions, whose leadership she accused of undermining parliamentary democracy and economic performance through strike action.


Strikes had helped bring down Heath's government, and Margaret Thatcher was determined to succeed where he had failed.


Margaret Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for the prisoners, having declared "Crime is crime is crime; it is not political".


Margaret Thatcher narrowly escaped injury in an IRA assassination attempt at a Brighton hotel early in the morning on 12 October 1984.


Margaret Thatcher was staying at the hotel to prepare for the Conservative Party conference, which she insisted should open as scheduled the following day.


Margaret Thatcher delivered her speech as planned, though rewritten from her original draft, in a move that was supported across the political spectrum and enhanced her popularity with the public.


Margaret Thatcher supported an active climate protection policy; she was instrumental in the passing of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the founding of the Hadley Centre for Climate Research and Prediction, the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the ratification of the Montreal Protocol on preserving the ozone.


Margaret Thatcher helped to put climate change, acid rain and general pollution in the British mainstream in the late 1980s, calling for a global treaty on climate change in 1989.


Margaret Thatcher's speeches included one to the Royal Society in 1988, followed by another to the UN General Assembly in 1989.


Margaret Thatcher appointed Lord Carrington, an ennobled member of the party and former Secretary of State for Defence, to run the Foreign Office in 1979.


Margaret Thatcher condemned the invasion, said it showed the bankruptcy of a detente policy and helped convince some British athletes to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics.


Margaret Thatcher gave weak support to US president Jimmy Carter who tried to punish the USSR with economic sanctions.


Margaret Thatcher nevertheless gave the go-ahead for Whitehall to approve MI6 to undertake "disruptive action" in Afghanistan.


Margaret Thatcher was one of the first Western leaders to respond warmly to reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.


Margaret Thatcher went on a state visit to the Soviet Union in 1984 and met with Gorbachev and Council of Ministers chairman Nikolai Ryzhkov.


Margaret Thatcher gave strong support to the Reagan administration's Cold War policies based on their shared distrust of communism.


Margaret Thatcher was in the US on a state visit when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990.


Margaret Thatcher applauded the coalition victory on the backbenches, while warning that "the victories of peace will take longer than the battles of war".


Margaret Thatcher was criticised for the neglect of the Falklands' defence that led to the war, and especially by Labour MP Tam Dalyell in Parliament for the decision to torpedo the General Belgrano, but overall she was considered a competent and committed war leader.


China was the first communist state Margaret Thatcher had visited as prime minister, and she was the first British prime minister to visit China.


Margaret Thatcher attempted to preserve trade with South Africa while persuading its government to abandon apartheid.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


In December 1989, Margaret Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by the little-known backbench MP Sir Anthony Meyer.


In July 1989, Margaret Thatcher removed Geoffrey Howe as foreign secretary after he and Lawson had forced her to agree to a plan for Britain to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.


Margaret Thatcher initially declared her intention to "fight on and fight to win" the second ballot, but consultation with her cabinet persuaded her to withdraw.


Margaret Thatcher's resignation was a shock to many outside Britain, with such foreign observers as Henry Kissinger and Gorbachev expressing private consternation.


Margaret Thatcher had lobbied for Major in the leadership contest against Heseltine, but her support for him waned in later years.


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.


Margaret Thatcher wrote two volumes of memoirs, The Downing Street Years and The Path to Power.


Margaret 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.


In 1998, Margaret Thatcher called for the release of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet when Spain had him arrested and sought to try him for human rights violations.


Margaret Thatcher cited the help he gave Britain during the Falklands War.


At the 2001 general election, Margaret 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 over Kenneth Clarke.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


Margaret Thatcher's book said that Israel must trade land for peace and that the European Union was a "fundamentally unreformable", "classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure".


Margaret Thatcher argued that Britain should renegotiate its terms of membership or else leave the EU and join the North American Free Trade Area.


On 11 June 2004, Margaret Thatcher attended the state funeral service for Ronald Reagan.


Margaret Thatcher delivered her eulogy via videotape; in view of her health, the message had been pre-recorded several months earlier.


Margaret 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.


In 2005, Margaret Thatcher criticised how Blair had decided to invade Iraq two years previously.


In February 2007 Margaret Thatcher became the first living British prime minister to be honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament.


Margaret Thatcher was a public supporter of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism and the resulting Prague Process and sent a public letter of support to its preceding conference.


Margaret Thatcher returned to 10 Downing Street in late November 2009 for the unveiling of an official portrait by artist Richard Stone, an unusual honour for a living former prime minister.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


Margaret Thatcher died on 8 April 2013, at the age of 87, after suffering a stroke.


Margaret Thatcher 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.


Reactions to the news of Margaret 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 Margaret Thatcher's funeral had been agreed upon with her in advance.


Margaret Thatcher generally supported the welfare state while proposing to rid it of abuses.


Margaret Thatcher promised in 1982 that the highly popular National Health Service 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, Margaret Thatcher broadened her attack.


Margaret Thatcher defined her political philosophy, in a major and controversial break with the one-nation conservatism of her predecessor Edward Heath, in a 1987 interview published in Woman's Own magazine:.


The "Margaret Thatcher years" were 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 economic policies remained blighted for decades, by such social problems as drug abuse and family breakdown.


Margaret Thatcher did "little to advance the political cause of women" within her party or the government.


Margaret Thatcher did not regard women's rights as requiring particular attention as she did not, especially during her premiership, consider that women were being deprived of their rights.


Margaret Thatcher had once suggested the shortlisting of women by default for all public appointments and proposed that those with young children should leave the workforce.


In opposition, Margaret Thatcher believed that the National Front was winning over large numbers of Conservative voters with warnings against floods of immigrants.


Margaret Thatcher's strategy was to undermine the NF narrative by acknowledging that many of their voters had serious concerns in need of addressing.


Margaret Thatcher's rhetoric was followed by increased Conservative support at the expense of the NF.


Margaret Thatcher is said to have regarded the "New Labour" rebranding as her greatest achievement.


Shortly after Margaret Thatcher died in 2013, Scottish first minister Alex Salmond argued that her policies had the "unintended consequence" of encouraging Scottish devolution.


Margaret Thatcher was not merely the first woman and the longest-serving Prime Minister of modern times, but the most admired, most hated, most idolised and most vilified public figure of the second half of the twentieth century.


Margaret Thatcher ranked highest among living persons in the 2002 BBC poll 100 Greatest Britons.


Margaret Thatcher was chosen as the Woman of the Year in 1982 when the Falklands War began under her command, resulting in the British victory.


In contrast to her relatively poor average approval rating as prime minister, Margaret Thatcher has since ranked highly in retrospective opinion polling and, according to YouGov, is "see[n] in overall positive terms" by the British public.


Margaret Thatcher was voted the fourth-greatest British prime minister of the 20th century in a 2011 poll of 139 academics organised by MORI.


Margaret Thatcher was heavily satirised on Spitting Image, and The Independent labelled her "every stand-up's dream".


Margaret Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for 1980s protest songs.


Since her premiership, Margaret Thatcher has been portrayed in a number of television programmes, documentaries, films and plays.


Margaret Thatcher was portrayed by Patricia Hodge in Ian Curteis's long unproduced The Falklands Play and by Andrea Riseborough in the TV film The Long Walk to Finchley.


Margaret Thatcher is the protagonist in two films, played by Lindsay Duncan in Margaret and by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, in which she is depicted as suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.


Margaret Thatcher is a main character in the fourth season of The Crown, played by Gillian Anderson.


Margaret Thatcher became a privy counsellor on becoming a secretary of state in 1970.


Margaret Thatcher was the first woman entitled to full membership rights as an honorary member of the Carlton Club on becoming Conservative Party leader in 1975.


Two weeks after her resignation, Margaret Thatcher was appointed Member of the Order of Merit by the Queen.


Margaret Thatcher would be made Lady Thatcher in her own right on her subsequent ennoblement in the House of Lords.


Margaret Thatcher became a member of the House of Lords in 1992 with a life peerage as Baroness Margaret Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire.