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Douglas Hurd: Margaret Thatcher's election was the start of an amazing eleven years

Maggie at 30
Picture 16 Lord Hurd was re-elected MP for Mid Oxfordshire at the 1979 general election and appointed a Foreign Office minister in Margaret Thatcher's first government.

Jim Callaghan was not a bad Prime Minister but by May 1979 his Government had run out of steam. By the time of my own election count in the Langdale Hall at Witney that Thursday evening it was pretty clear that Labour was out.

People were fed up with the inefficiency and disorder of Britain under their rule. After the declaration at Witney I sat up listening to the main results in my cottage at Westwell, and then next day watched Margaret Thatcher on television as she entered Number 10. Like most people in 1979 I did not yet know her well, but she was obviously honest, energetic and above all new.

It was a happy Friday morning. I was not to know it was the start of an amazing eleven years in Britain’s history.

Further recollections of the 1979 election will follow during the course of the day.


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