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Margaret Thatcher

Lincolnshire’s ‘Iron Lady’

Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister.

As leader of the Conservative party, she won three General Elections and will be remembered as one of the most important political figures of 20th century Britain.

Born on 13th October 1925 in Grantham, Margaret Hilda Roberts was the daughter of local grocer Alfred Roberts. Her father was also a local politician and twice became the Mayor of Grantham. She went first to Huntingtower Primary School and then Kesteven & Grantham Girls’ School. When she was 18 she went to Oxford University to study chemistry. After leaving university Margaret worked as a research chemist for Lyons and then later she studied law and became a barrister. In 1951, she married a wealthy businessman, Denis Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher became a Member of Parliament for Finchley in North London in 1959. She was a member of the Conservative Party and her first parliamentary job was Junior Minister for Pensions.

After the Conservative Party won the General Election in 1970, Margaret became Secretary of State for Education and Science. She created great controversy by ending free school milk for children and earned the title of ‘the most unpopular woman in Britain’ with the nickname ‘Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher.’

The Conservative Party was defeated in the general election in 1974. In the next year, Margaret Thatcher was elected Leader of the Conservative party.

The Conservatives won the next General Election and on 4th May 1979, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first woman prime minister.

She believed in privatising state-owned industries and utilities, reforming trade unions, lowering taxes and reducing government spending. She developed a close relationship with the American president Ronald Reagan and was nicknamed the ‘Iron Lady’ by the Russians.

Margaret Thatcher went on to win two more General Elections in 1983 and 1987, and became the longest serving Prime Minister for more than 150 years.

In November 1990, Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister and in 1992 stepped down as MP for Finchley. She then joined the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.

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Last updated: 18 February 2011

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