//
you're reading...
Daily History

May 4 1979 Margaret Thatcher sworn in as British Prime Minister


On May 4th 1979, the Oxford-educated chemist and lawyer, Margaret Thatcher, leader of the Conservative Party, was sworn in as Britain’s first female prime minister, the day after the Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in general parliamentary elections.

She was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, on October 13th 1925. Roberts attended Huntingtower Road Primary School and won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School. Her school reports showed hard work and continual improvement; her extracurricular activities included the piano, field hockey, poetry recitals, swimming and walking. She was head girl in 1942–43.

In her upper sixth year she applied for a scholarship to study chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford but was initially rejected, and was offered a place only after another candidate withdrew. She arrived at Oxford in 1943 and graduated in 1947 with Second Class Honours in the four-year Chemistry Bachelor of Science degree; in her final year she specialised in X-ray crystallography under the supervision of Dorothy Hodgkin.

She was the first woman president of the Oxford University Conservative Association and in 1950 ran for Parliament in Dartford. She was defeated but garnered an impressive number of votes in the generally liberal district. In 1959, after marrying businessman Denis Thatcher and giving birth to twins, she was elected to Parliament as a Conservative for Finchley, a north London district. During the 1960s, she rose rapidly in the ranks of the Conservative Party and in 1967 joined the shadow cabinet sitting in opposition to Harold Wilson’s ruling Labour cabinet. With the victory of the Conservative Party under Edward Health in 1970, Thatcher became secretary of state for education and science.

In 1974, the Labour Party returned to power, and Thatcher served as joint shadow chancellor before replacing Edward Health as the leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975. She was the first woman to head the Conservatives. Under her leadership, the Conservative Party shifted further right in its politics, calling for privatisation of national industries and utilities and promising a resolute defence of Britain’s interests abroad. She also sharply criticised Prime Minister James Callaghan’s ineffectual handling of the chaotic labour strikes of 1978 and 1979.

In March 1979, Callaghan was defeated by a vote of no confidence, and on May 3 a general election gave Thatcher’s Conservatives a majority in Parliament. Sworn in the next day, Prime Minister Thatcher immediately set about dismantling socialism in Britain. She privatised numerous industries, cutback government expenditures, and gradually reduced the rights of trade unions. In 1983, despite the worst unemployment figures for half a decade, Thatcher was re-elected to a second term, thanks largely to the decisive British victory in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina.

In other foreign affairs, the “Iron Lady” presided over the orderly establishment of an independent Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) in 1980 and took a hard stance against Irish separatists in Northern Ireland. In October 1984, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb exploded at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton. The prime minister narrowly escaped harm.

In 1987, an upswing in the economy led to her election to a third term, but Thatcher soon alienated some members of her own party because of her poll-tax policies and opposition to further British integration into the European Community. In November 1990, she failed to received a majority in a challenge for her leadership. After seeing the Queen, calling other world leaders, and making one final Commons speech, she left Downing Street in tears. She regarded her ousting as a betrayal.

She withdrew her nomination, and John Major, the chancellor of the Exchequer since 1989, was chosen as Conservative leader. On November 28th, Thatcher resigned as prime minister and was succeeded by Major. Thatcher’s three consecutive terms in office marked the longest continuous tenure of a British prime minister since 1827. In 1992, she was made Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, and took a seat in the House of Lords.

In later years, Thatcher has worked as a consultant, served as the chancellor of the College of William and Mary and written her memoirs, as well as other books on politics. Margaret Thatcher continues to work with the Thatcher Foundation, which she created to foster the ideals of democracy, free trade and cooperation among nations.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “May 4 1979 Margaret Thatcher sworn in as British Prime Minister

  1. Never liked her …. but interesting reading again, Craig

    Posted by viveka | May 4, 2012, 01:14
  2. Interesting lady…

    Posted by chasingtheperfectmoment | May 4, 2012, 04:00
  3. There is nothing sexier than a strong, smart, in your face kind of woman to keep one honest. Loved her from afar!

    Posted by --Rick | May 4, 2012, 14:17
  4. One of my idols

    Posted by jennysserendipity | May 4, 2012, 17:29

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: This Day In History For May 4, Thatcher, Mays and More | Wis U.P. North - May 4, 2012

  2. Pingback: Margaret Thatcher – The Iron Lady « Love it or Leave it!! - May 14, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,929 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Could China’s economy collapse?

Could China’s economy collapse?

For almost half a century, Chinese officials have overseen one of the greatest economic transformations in human history. The country has gone from collectivized farms and famine to world-leading tech companies and gleaming megacities connected by superfast trains. More than 800 million Chinese have been pulled out of poverty as the Communist Party and its leader […]

China’s economic crisis is much bigger than expected – its property market, the largest in the world, is collapsing

China’s economic crisis is much bigger than expected – its property market, the largest in the world, is collapsing

The situation in China is much worse than originally thought.  The largest property market in the world is set to collapse and the ramifications will impact the entire world.  We’ve been discussing China’s economic issues for years.  Recently this was even discussed with Steve Bannon on The War Room. We now have information that the […]

UN must condemn forced organ harvesting in China

UN must condemn forced organ harvesting in China

Doctors, lawyers, and politicians from three continents called on the international community to ensure an end to China’s practice of forced organ harvesting during the first half of the World Summit on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting. Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) further calls upon the participants of the United Nations General Assembly […]

China says its J-31 is superior to F-35, and will be new carrier-borne fighter jet

China says its J-31 is superior to F-35, and will be new carrier-borne fighter jet

Dwnews.com describes the J-31 in its report “曝歼31配新型导弹高清照 被指将终结美军空中优势[图]” as China’s new carrier-borne fighter jet for China’s Type 003 aircraft carrier. The speculation is based on the J-31’s Chief Designer Sun Cong’s recent comment on social media that China will make public its new carrier-borne fighter jet by year end. The report describes the J-31 as […]

The reason for the discussion on the Tobin tax in China

The reason for the discussion on the Tobin tax in China

Tax every major financial transaction for social equity by a fraction and allocate the funds to redistribution initiatives. The Tobin tax is the shattered dream of the anti-globalist left, even if its history is slightly more complex. Formulated in 1972 by James Tobin, the 1981 Nobel laureate in economics, it aimed to stabilize the financial […]

Is another Cultural Revolution underway in China?

Is another Cultural Revolution underway in China?

Chinese President Xi Jinping is cracking down on several sectors of Chinese society, including technology and entertainment. This has some Beijing watchers worried a new version of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution is underway. Here’s everything you need to know. What was the Cultural Revolution? It was a brutal 10-year period between 1966-76 (with most […]

Cadence Column: Asia, October 11, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, October 11, 2021

Biden is creating a special center within CIA for China. Xi Jinping is irate. Biden knows China almost as well as Trump. He met with Chinese officials as Vice President. While Trump played a “good cop” routine on China, Biden is in a better position to be less diplomatic. After all, hating on China does […]

The curious case of Pakistan, China, TTP and BRI

The curious case of Pakistan, China, TTP and BRI

On 1st October Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan broke all hell loose when on the Turkish government-run TV channel, TRT World, he disclosed that the Pakistani government is in secret talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), facilitated by the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistanis were upset for many reasons. They were upset that they were kept in […]

China’s electronic warfare aircraft J-16D spotted near Taiwan; experts say India border could be next

China’s electronic warfare aircraft J-16D spotted near Taiwan; experts say India border could be next

China is rapidly acquiring new military technologies and weapons as it tries to dominate the Indo-Pacific region, especially the South China Sea which it considers as its backyard. The J-16D electronic warfare aircraft (EWA) is one such platform that stood out at the recently concluded Zhuhai airshow and according to reports, PLA has deployed the […]

Instead of confronting China’s rise, we must manage its decline

Instead of confronting China’s rise, we must manage its decline

Nations, like people, have reputations, and in both cases there can be gaps between the rep and the reality. China is known as the sage of nations, strategically patient, thinking in terms of centuries while the West flits about like a toddler in a toy store. Current events are forcing a reappraisal, however, as China […]

%d bloggers like this: