How Long Was Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 11 years and 208 days

Margaret Hilda Thatcher is widely regarded by many both within and outside the nation as one of the greatest prime ministers the United Kingdom ever had. Yet, she is also a very controversial and polarising figure to many British and Irish people. The reason behind such fame of her lies in the ups and downs the country experienced during her rule.

Great Britain is an old democracy. The country had several prime ministers from the establishment of the parliamentary system till now. However, not all of them can complete their terms, leaving aside their prospect of multiple terms.

Nonetheless, Margaret Thatcher stands as a stark contrast to them with three successive premiership terms spanning over a decade.

How Long Was Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister?

TermFrom – ToTime
First Term1979 – 19833 years
Second Term1983 – 19875 years
Third Term 1987 – 19903 years

Margaret Thatcher held the commands of the United Kingdom for a total of eleven years and two hundred eight days. She was the seventh longest-serving prime minister and was able to win three successive terms in the country. However, her term ended in 1990 partly owing to a sort of internal coup.

The result of the 1979 general elections resulted in a clear win for the Conservative party headed by Ms Thatcher. The Conservative party was able to secure three hundred and thirty-nine seats out of the six hundred and thirty-five seats in the House of Commons. The Labour party was able to hold 269 seats while the Liberal party led by David Steel secured eleven seats.

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The results of the 1983 elections of the House of Commons was a landslide election for the Conservative party’s power. This general election further cemented the party’s lead over the nation by an outright majority of a hundred and forty-four seats. At the same time, it was one of the worst election defeats for the Labour party in the history of the British parliamentary elections.

Another successive victory for the Conservative party, the victory was also of great significance for Margaret Thatcher. She was among the few prime ministers who have been able to win three consecutive general elections. However, her party won 376 seats, twenty seats less than her last election.

Why Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership Was So Long?

Margaret Thatcher was a leader of rare charisma and popularity. Being the first female head of the government of a European nation, her role demanded strength and toughness which she duly possessed. She was fondly called and is often still remembered by the common and famous as the “Iron Lady” of Europe.

The first political win she gave her party was in 1979. This general election mostly focused on the inabilities of the previous Labour government headed by James Callaghan. Unemployment was on a rise, there were frequent strikes and lockouts in the country accompanied by growing inflation, which is often described as the “Summer of Discontent” and it led to a victory for her and her party.

The Conservative party won a second term with her as a leader in 1983. The spirit of nationalism was on a high, owing to the United Kingdom’s unexpected win in the Falklands War. The country was fighting with Venezuela for those islands which mostly consisted of natives of England. This helped her party win a mandate with the highest margin ever won by a political party in Britain.

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Margaret Thatcher won an outright majority for the third consecutive term with a lead of a hundred and forty-seven seats over the liberal party. There was one of the lowest unemployment rates in the decade while inflation was at a fifty-year low level. These were some of the main reasons behind her win in that election.

Conclusion

Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest and most reformist prime ministers that the United Kingdom has ever produced. Her term spanned through the decade of eighties. To be exact, her term of premiership lasted for eleven years and two hundred and eight days.

Her first win was on account of the previous government’s failure while her second term was attributed to her muscular nationalistic policies. On the other hand, her third term was all about her administration’s economical success.

References

  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1981-24946-001
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6FI4DgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT4&dq=margaret+thatcher&ots=p48h-YNCIf&sig=HMMNfj43wMtjAtU-EuN8f6822po&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=margaret%20thatcher&f=false
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