The outspoken Margaret Thatcher led the Conservative Party to three election victories from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century.
These are some memorable words from her political life.
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – 1965, speech to National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds Conference.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my Red Star chiffon evening gown. My face softly made up and my fair hair gently waved. The Iron Lady of the Western world. A cold war warrior, an amazon philistine, even a Peking plotter. Well, am I any of these things? … Yes I am an iron lady, after all it wasn’t a bad thing to be an iron duke. Yes, if that’s how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life.” – 1976, speech to Finchley Conservatives.
“I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.” – 1973, as education secretary. She became Britain’s first, and so far only, prime minister in 1979.
“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – 1979, quoting St Francis of Assisi, on her election victory.
|Thatcher died following a stroke, aged 87 [Reuters]|
“I am not a consensus politician. I’m a conviction politician.” – 1979
“We are not asking for a penny piece of community money for Britain. What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back, over and above what we contribute to the community, which is covered by our receipts from the community.” – 1979, at a European Economic Community summit.
“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” – 1980
“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” – 1980, at a Conservative Party conference to colleagues urging her to soften her economic policies which were driving up unemployment.
“When you’ve spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it’s exciting to have a real crisis on your hands.” – 1982, commenting on the Falkland Islands war.
“I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am.” – 1983, speech to British Jewish Community.
“This is a day I was not meant to see.” – 1984, to reporters the day after surviving a deadly Irish Republican Army bomb attack on the Conservative Party conference.
“We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty.” – On the 1984-85 miners’ strike which provoked some of the fiercest union opposition to her economic policies.
“We can do business together.” – 1984, speaking of the Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
“There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.” – 1987, magazine interview.
“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing.” – 1989, commenting on her 10th anniversary as prime minister.
“I fight on, I fight to win.” – November 1990, after failing to win enough votes to avoid a second round in the Conservative leadership contest. She resigned the next day.
“It’s a funny old world” – 1990, on her decision to quit.