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Margaret Thatcher

Updated on May 25, 2012

Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts. She studied chemistry at Oxford University and later became a barrister. Having been elected to Parliament in 1959 she gained her first cabinet post as the Minister for Education in 1970. She became the Conservative Party leader in 1975.

In 1979 the Conservatives won the General Election and Thatcher became the first woman prime minister of Britain.

She at once set about lowering taxes and reducing government control of businesses. Later, many state-owned businesses like British Telecom were sold to private owners.

In 1982 Thatcher reacted quickly when Argentina invaded the British colony of the Falkland Islands. A British task force recaptured the islands, but many British and Argentinian soldiers died.

In 1983 she led her party to another election win, and in 1987 she became the first prime minister in the 20th century to be elected to a third consecutive term of office.

But the end of 1990 though, her popularity had declined. She resigned after a context for leadership of the Conservative Party. Margaret Thatcher's toughness in foreign affairs led to her being known as 'the Iron Lady'.

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