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Twenty years ago Margaret Thatcher resigned as Tory leader

Tim Montgomerie

Those videos are a trip down memory lane.

In two separate pieces in The Telegraph in the last two days, Andrew Roberts and Charles Moore have attempted to capture the significance of Lady Thatcher's time as Prime Minister and also the manner of her unhappy ousting on 22nd November 1990.

Historian Andrew Roberts argued in The Sunday Telegraph that the Iron Lady deserves a state funeral:

"For the first female prime minister – someone who held the office longer consecutively than anyone since 1827, rescued Britain from bankruptcy and trade union domination, liberated Crown subjects in the Falklands, restored British pride, and helped destroy Soviet Communism, the most evil tyranny to threaten freedom since the Nazis – Margaret Thatcher should be accorded a State funeral, as were given to Nelson and Wellington, Gladstone and Churchill. They were the great leaders of their eras, and she is the great leader of ours."

In today's Telegraph Mr Moore, Lady Thatcher's official biographer, describes how her ousting injected years of poison into the bloodstream of the Conservative Party:

"The harm of her departure was done by the method. If she was failing, she deserved, after having achieved so much, to be allowed to fail at the polls. That would have been sad, but clean. It would have allowed whoever succeeded her to emerge from her shadow. What happened was dirty. Much more than any of Mrs Thatcher’s policies, it gave the Tories the reputation of being the Nasty Party. It put poison into the system. It meant that, for years and years, Conservatives expended their emotional energies on quarrelling with one another. John Major became leader to stop Michael Heseltine. William Hague and then Iain Duncan Smith became leader to stop Ken Clarke – a sound reason, in my view, but hardly the basis for winning the country at the polls. Because the coup was unjustified, and so trust broke down, the politics of the next 15 years were those of civil war."

And, finally, an image of the twentieth century's greatest peace-time PM back at Number Ten, equipped with handbag, standing alongside David Cameron:



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