03.05.

1979: Electoral Victory of Margaret Thatcher

1979: Electoral Victory of Margaret Thatcher
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Thatcher's Cabinet meets with Reagan's Cabinet at the White House, 1981

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 3 May 1979
  • On this day the party of Margaret Thatcher won the parliamentary elections, which then led her to the position of Prime Minister. Her famous nickname "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher received even before she became prime minister, from a Soviet journalist.

On this day in 1979, general parliamentary elections were held in the UK, with Margaret Thatcher winning.

In fact, her Conservative Party won 339 seats, while the hitherto ruling Labour Party dropped to 269 seats (they previously had 319).

Of course, after winning that election Margaret Thatcher became the new Prime Minister, as the first woman in history to hold that position.

Already before those elections, Margaret Thatcher was of course, at the head of her party, not in power, but in the opposition.

It is interesting that, in the UK, even the opposition has an official “shadow government” (“Shadow Cabinet”). It is headed by an official “Leader of the Opposition”. In fact, the opposition in the UK has a pretty interesting official name of “Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition”.

So, Margaret Thatcher was the official “Leader of the Opposition” already before the election, and when she won, she simply transferred to the office of Prime Minister.

Also, her “shadow Minister of Finance” Geoffrey Howe became the actual Minister of Finance.

Margaret Thatcher received her famous nickname “Iron Lady” even before she became Prime Minister.

Already in 1976 (three years before her election victory), the Soviet journalist Yuri Gavrilov gave her that name in the Red Star newspaper.

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