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Political Background

Margaret’s early political career started at university in 1945. 

Margaret’s early political career started at university in 1945.  The Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) was Margaret’s first involvement in Conservative Party politics, and by 1946 she had been elected Chairman of the OUCA.  This was an exciting time in politics, the socialists were in power in Westminster, but the students were moving in the opposite direction.  As a result, Margaret became more and more involved in conferences, public speaking and Conservative principles.

In 1948 Margaret attended the Conservative Party Conference in Llandudno representing the Oxford Graduates’ Association.  There she met John Miller, Chairman of the Conservative Association at Dartford in Kent.  After much persuasion from John Miller, Margaret put her name forward for that constituency.  Up until then there had been 26 candidates, all men, but when the committee had seen and heard Margaret they unhesitatingly chose her.  So, in March 1949 Margaret was officially adopted and became the youngest woman standing for the Conservatives.

By 1959, after several attempts to secure a Conservative candidacy, Margaret became Member of Parliament for Finchley.  From 1970 to 1974, during the Heath Administration, Margaret was Minister of Education and Science.  Whilst in this post she provoked a storm of protest by abolishing free milk in schools.  “Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher” became one of the slogans associated with her. 

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Last updated: 18 February 2011

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