Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, is dead

Margaret Thatcher was British prime minister from 1979-1990.

She was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in 1925, the daughter of a local grocer.

In 1951 she married a divorced businessman, Denis Thatcher, and began studying for the bar exams, qualifying as a barrister in 1953, the year in which her twins Mark and Carol were born.

Thatcher is pictured here talking to a chimney sweep in Dartford whilst campaigning in 1951. She lost on that occasion, but finally entered Parliament in 1959 having won the safe Conservative seat of Finchley.

Mrs Thatcher entered Downing Street in 1979 as Britain’s first female prime minister, promising that the Conservatives would cut income tax, reduce public expenditure, make it easier for people to buy their own homes and curb the power of the unions.

In office she soon cultivated a tough image as “the Iron Lady”.

Her tough reputation was enhanced by military action against Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

She survived violence closer to home: In 1984 the IRA blew up the Brighton hotel where she was staying during the Conservative party conference. The blast sent a chimney crashing down through a column of rooms, killing five people.

Mrs Thatcher formed a special relationship with US President Ronald Reagan – her political soulmate. On his death she described Mr Reagan as a great American who “won the Cold War”.

Her premiership began to unravel when she caused splits in the Tory party over Europe and the poll tax.

She was ousted as leader – and hence as prime minister – by her own party in 1990. Following her defeat she returned to Number 10 prior to a tearful departure in front of the world’s press.

In 2007 Baroness Thatcher became the first living ex-prime minister to be honoured with a statue in the House of Commons.

Although the Tory peer suffered a number of minor strokes which affected her short-term memory, she continued to fulfill a number of public engagements.

Margaret Thatcher has been called the most influential British political figure since Churchill and was one of the dominant political figures of 20th Century Britain.
Culled from http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10879520






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