The Sunday Magazine

The Day Margaret Thatcher Resigned (from our archives)

Her nicknames were legion: the Finchley Fishwife, the Housewife Superstar, and Attila the Hen. But as Britain's first female Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher was, of course, best known as The Iron Lady....
Her nicknames were legion: the Finchley Fishwife, the Housewife Superstar, and Attila the Hen. But as Britain's first female Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher was, of course, best known as The Iron Lady.

She was one of the most loved - and hated - British political figures of the 20th century. After 11 and a half years as Prime Minister, she resigned abruptly on Thursday November 22, 1990. It was a spectacular fall from grace. 

michael_Heseltine-200.jpg
Michael Heseltine
Mrs. Thatcher's political demise was due, in part, to her anti-Europe views and a controversial poll tax applied to every British citizen - one which caused riots in the streets.

Over the course of one week, nasty internecine squabbles erupted within the Conservative party. The flamboyant MP Michael Heseltine, almost as famous for his hairdo as was Mrs. Thatcher, ran against her for the leadership. She lost on the first ballot, defeated by the same Conservatives she'd helped get elected in three successive elections.  

In the end, Michael Heseltine lost his bid for the leadership and John Major became her successor.  

The CBC's Elizabeth Gray was in London at the time, in fact she was inside the Houses of Parliament, as the drama played out.

Elizabeth's documentary for the CBC Radio program Sunday Morning began with the television political soap opera "House of Cards" and a scene where a Tory backroom boy contemplated a picture of Margaret Thatcher and mused, "Nothing lasts forever."

Enjoy listening to Elizabeth's documentary, which was made in 1990, and which we have pulled from our archives.

Margaret Thatcher returned to the backbenches as MP for Finchley for two years, before retiring from Parliament. She died this week at the age of 87.

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