Margaret Thatcher

Margaret was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire to Beatrice and Alfred Roberts. Alfred was a grocer with two shops and an active member of the Conservative party who later became mayor of Grantham.

Her father was a role model for Margaret as she admired him greatly. From attending her local primary school she passed the 11+ and went to Grantham Girls High school where she obtained a place at Somerville college Oxford reading chemistry, obtaining a second class degree. Thatcher then worked for two years as a research chemist; beginning her political career in 1950 by standing as a Conservative candidate in Dartford which she lost for two consecutive years. She then married Dennis Thatcher and studied law, qualifying as a barrister which undoubtedly helped her into politics once again as she became M.P. for Finchley in 1959. When Harold MacMillan was prime Minister in 1961 Thatcher was made under secretary for Minister of Pensions and National Insurance. When Edward Heath became prime Minister in 1974 Margaret became minister of Education where she became known as 'Thatcher the milk snatcher' because she abolished free milk in schools.

When the Tories lost the 1974 election (mainly because of the 3 day working week and the miners strike imposed by Edward Heath) Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative party. She swept to victory in the 1976 general election, the first female leader of a western democracy with a plan to lessen the power of the unions and commenced to build up coal stocks in preparation for a miners strike. Her vendetta against the miners resulted in a prolonged strike in which she defeated and squashed the power of the unions.

In 1981 she declared war on Argentina to take back the Falklands which was achieved. In 1984 at the Brighton Conservative party conference, the hotel in which all the cabinet were staying was blown up by the IRA , killing five people but their target, Thatcher, defiantly survived to give a rousing speech the next day. She later won a third general election in 1984 when she introduced the highly controversial Poll Tax which resulted in public demonstrations and riots. Because of this her own party turned against her and in 1990 she was succeeded by John Major as party leader. She was a very strong leader and although there were few women in her cabinet she did say 'If you want anything said ask a man, but if you want anything done ask a woman'

Quote Image: 
Margaret Thatcher famous quote while speaking at Conservative conference