|Previous Name||10/13/1925 - 12/01/1951 Margaret Roberts|
London, XX , England
|| October 13, 1925
|Died||April 08, 2013
|Last Modifed||Rob Ritchie|
Jan 28, 2018 12:26am
|Info||Margaret Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister for more than 150 years and was the first woman to serve as Prime Minister. |
Thatcher always claimed that her father, who ran a chain of Groceries and who dabbled in local politics (becoming an Alderman for a few years, until the Labour majority on the town council sacked him , was a major formative influence. Thatcher was educated at the local grammar school and at Oxford where she studied chemistry. She also became president of the university Conservative association.
Mrs Thatcher later read for the Bar, before being elected in 1959 as the Conservative MP for Finchley (a suburban constituency in North London). She held junior posts before becoming shadow spokesperson for Education, and entered the Cabinet as Education Secretary in 1970. In Opposition she stood against Edward Heath for the party leadership in 1975. Her victory was considered a surprise by many.
In 1979, the Conservative Party won the General Election in part thanks to a wave of public sector strikes and Margaret Thatcher succeeded James Callaghan as Prime Minister. Thatcher's first two years in office were not easy. Due to here own economic policies, unemployment soared, but the economy in the South East boomed. She brought more of her supporters into the Cabinet, and bolstered her reputation by leading the country to war against Argentina in the Falkland Islands. Shortly after this the Conservatives won the 1983 election by a landslide, aided by a fragmented opposition.
Margaret Thatcher's government followed a radical programme of privatisation and deregulation, reform of the Trade Unions, tax cuts and the introduction of market mechanisms into health and education. The aim was to reduce the role of government and increase individual self-reliance. She also became a familiar figure internationally, striking up a famous friendship with US President Reagan and gaining the praise of Soviet leader Gorbachev.
One great difficulty during her time in office was the issue of Europe. Her long-serving Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe resigned in November 1990 in protest at Thatcher's attitude to Europe. His resignation speech set in train events which were to lead to Thatcher's downfall later that month.
Michael Heseltine challenged Thatcher for the leadership, and while he failed to win, he gained 152 votes - enough to make it evident that a crucial minority favoured a change. Thatcher was eventually persuaded not to go forward to the second ballot, which was won by her Chancellor of the Exchequer, John Major.
At the time of her forced resignation, she was the most unpopular Prime Minister since the introduction of Opinion Polls.
She left the House of Commons in 1992, and now sits in the Lords as Baroness Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher's writings include two volumes of memoirs: "The Downing Street Years" (1993) and "The Path to Power" (1995).