Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 July 2015

The Thatcher years that transformed Britain

By Chris Moncrieff

Published 08/04/2013 | 13:45

1984:  (FILE PHOTO)  Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke..   British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with American President Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street, on June 5, 1984 in London, England.    (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1984: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with American President Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street, on June 5, 1984 in London, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
File photo dated 22/5/89 of Margaret Thatcher fielding questions with Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe (background), at a press conference, in London
File photo dated 14/11/04 of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair during the annual National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, London
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009
File photo dated 09/11/1959 of Baroness Thatcher, with her children Mark and Carol, aged 6, at their home in Farnborough, Kent
File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London
British politician Margaret Thatcher talks to a policeman outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British politician Margaret Thatcher outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 10/2/05 of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the Churchill Museum Opening, Cabinet War Rooms, London
File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Conservative Leader Margaret Thatcher ariving at Tory Headquarters in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 10/06/1983 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 12/08/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis walking on the Trevose golf course, Cornwall, on the first day of their summer holidays. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 13/07/1950 of Margaret Hilda Roberts, the Conservative candidate for Dartford, on her way to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
Baroness Thatcher in Downing Street...Prime Minister David Cameron helps Baroness Thatcher as she leaves Downing Street
File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Margaret Thatcher waving from the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 24th January 1950: When not engaged in her political work in Dartford (Kent) where she is standing as Tory candidate, Miss Margaret Roberts, youngest candidate for the general election, is busy with her work as a research chemist. Margaret Roberts went on to become Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 7th December 1962: Conservative MP Margaret Thatcher has fun on a ski run in Battersea Park with instructor Joe Hoki. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. circa 1950: Conservative candidate Margaret Roberts accompanies four voters on the piano in a sing-song after a brief political argument in the bar of The Bull Inn, Dartford. (Margaret Roberts married Denis Thatcher and went on to become Prime Minister.) (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. November 1976: Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher makes a 'victory' sign outside her home in Chelsea, London. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. October 1985: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher looking pensive at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, London, at the start of her third term in office. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher covering her face with her hand at the 1985 Conservative Party Conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Conservative politician and future prime minister Margaret Hilda Thatcher, wiping dishes whilst a nurse looks on. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, as the Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent, and before she married husband Denis. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
1980: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Conservative politician and first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Tory Party Conference on in Brighton, East Sussex circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
File photo dated 4/1/79 of Margaret Thatcher in an inter-ship jackstay for her high-speed shortcut across the Pool feature of the 25th London International Boat Show which she opened at Earls Court in London
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 04, 1979: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts (b 1925), with her husband Denis Thatcher (1915 - 2003), waves to the crowds outside the Conservative Party headquarters on May 4, 1979 in London, England. (Photo by John Minihan/Getty Images)
1985: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher holds a chimpanzee in 1985. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
File photo dated 08/11/05 of Margaret Thatcher at the memorial service for former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, at Westminster Abbey in central London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 8/12/07 of Baroness Thatcher who joined Falkland Islanders and former servicemen in London to honour all those who lost their lives in wars in the South Atlantic
20/6/2001 Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, seated in the House of Lords, London, for the State Opening of Parliament
File photo dated 04/05/2000 of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sitting beside her portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
Libray filer dated 23/11/2001 of the head of the puppet Margaret Thatcher on display at a Sotheby's auction of Spitting Image puppets
Library filer dated 10/11/00 of Sir Denis Thatcher (left), accompanied by his wife and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (centre), after receiving his first honorary degree from the University of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire
File photo dated 12/10/77 of Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher with 16 year old Rother Valley schoolboy William Hague, after he received a standing ovation from delegates at the Tory party conference in Blackpool
Library filer dated 8/6/1988 of Margaret Thatcher standing in the shell of London's old Battersea power station, when she renamed the site 'The Battersea'
File photo dated 21/2/07 of Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher in front of a bronze statue of herself, inside the Palace of Westminster, London
File photo dated 13/9/07 of Gordon Brown with Baroness Thatcher as she leaves her old official residence at 10 Downing Street
File photo dated 04/05/2000 of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher sitting alone as she waits for the start of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 06/12/1990 of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with former US President Ronald Reagan at Claridges, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
File photo dated 12/10/84 of the upper floors of the Grand Hotel Brighton, severely damaged in the aftermath of an IRA bomb, which was planted during Tory Party conference week. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
Library filer dated 3/5/1989 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street, in London, with her son Mark, daughter-in-law Diane, and two-month-old grandson Michael
Library filer dated 26/1/1990 of Margaret Thatcher toasting Julie Goodyear and the cast of Coronation Street when she visited the Rovers Return at Granada Television Studios in Manchester
LONDON - 2006: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON, ENGLAND - 2009: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON - JUNE 8: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON - 1987: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON - 2005: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON - 2006: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON, ENGLAND - 2009: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON - 2008: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
1987: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 1: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses inside Number 10 Downing Street in London, England on April 01, 1984. (Photo by Express/Getty Images)
1967: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke. Conservative politician and future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher speaking at a party conference on Octobe 21, 1967 in England. (Photo by Harry Dempster/Express/Getty Images)
1983: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her German counterpart, Helmut Kohl, at a press conference at Number 12 Downing Street on April 22, 1983 in London, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1951: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke. Margaret Roberts, Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent and youngest woman candidate in the election, talking to dustmen during her election campaign in October 4, 1951 in England. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
1986: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Nancy Reagan, the wife of US president Ronald Reagan, meets British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at Number 10, Downing Street on July 22, 1986 in London, England. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 10 NOVEMBER: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. (L-R) Liberal Party Leader David Steel, former Labour Leader James Callaghan and Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher carrying wreaths of poppies during a Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph on November 10, 1980 in Whitehall, London. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Margaret Thatcher changed Britain. She was the driving force from that heady moment when she recited St Francis of Assisi on the steps of Downing Street on May 4, 1979, to the day, after nearly 12 years in power, when the woman who had tamed the unions, won the Falklands war, and rolled back the power of the state, was discarded by her own party.

They were years of tumult and frenzy, sometimes savagery, but rarely serenity.

She never lost an election, nor a vote in the House of Commons.

In the end, in the Tory leadership battle, she secured a better vote, and lost, than did John Major, who succeeded her.

It was indeed a funny old world which pitched out the woman who gave her party and her country perhaps the most spectacular and daring leadership since the Second World War.

These are some of the highlights which marked the Thatcher years of power through the 1980s and beyond:

::1979:

May 4, the Tories win with an overall majority of 43 and the nation has its first woman prime minister;

June 12, Geoffrey Howe's first budget cuts the standard tax rate by 3p, and raises VAT to 15%;

October 24, British exchange controls abolished;

November 29, Mrs Thatcher calls for a £1,000 million cut in Britain's contribution to the European Community, saying she is not afraid to precipitate a crisis;

December 21, after 14 years of illegal independence Southern Rhodesia, soon to become Zimbabwe, becomes A British colony again.

::1980:

January 24, Government outlines package of anti-Soviet measures as protest at invasion of Afghanistan;

July 15, Government announces plans to replace Polaris with Trident;

August 27, unemployment reaches two million for the first time since 1935;

October 15, Jim Callaghan resigns as Labour's leader to be succeeded by Michael Foot.

:: 1981:

January 26, The so-called Gang of Four form Council for Social Democracy leading to the eventual SDP;

October 15, Norman Tebbit delivers his so-called "on your bike" speech;

:: 1982:

January 14, Mark Thatcher is rescued after being missing in the Sahara Desert on the Paris-Dakar rally;

March 4, Government gives go-ahead to satellite TV;

April 2, Royal Marines surrender to Argentine forces in Falkland Islands capital, Port Stanley, and Britain breaks off diplomatic relations with Argentina;

April 5, Francis Pym replaces Lord Carrington as foreign secretary and the Falklands task force sets sail;

April 25, British troops recapture South Georgia;

May 2, The Argentine cruiser General Belgrano is sunk with hundreds of deaths;

May 4, HMS Sheffield hit and sunk by Exocet missiles with loss of 21 lives;

May 12, The QE2, equipped as a troopship, sets sail for the Falklands;

June 14, Argentine forces surrender and Mrs Thatcher is cheered on steps of Downing Street;

June 24, The Prince and Princess of Wales have an heir - William Arthur Philip Louis;

July 9, Michael Fagan gains access to the Queen's bedroom;

July 20, IRA bombs in Hyde Park and Regents Park kill 11 soldiers and several horses;

October 8, Margaret Thatcher declares: "The NHS is safe with us";

December 17, Inflation drops to 6.3%, the lowest for 10 years;

:: 1983:

January 6, Michael Heseltine replaces Sir John Nott as defence secretary;

January 8, Margaret Thatcher visits the Falkland Islands;

February 4, Shops Bill on Sunday trading is defeated in the Commons;

April 1, Britain expels three Russians as spies and a week later Soviet Union expels two British journalists;

April 9, Mrs Thatcher sets the general election date - June 9;

June 9, Tories win landslide victory at the general election;

June 12, Michael Foot resigns as Labour leader;

July 12, Government promises new laws on trade union secret ballots and elections for top union jobs;

July 13, Neil Kinnock narrowly escapes injury when his car overturns on the M4;

October 2, Neil Kinnock, aged 41, elected Labour leader with Roy Hattersley as his deputy;

October 5, Cecil Parkinson admits he had relationship with his secretary, Sara Keays, and that he is father of her forthcoming child and on October 15 he quits as trade and industry secretary;

November 1, Michael Heseltine says that demonstrators at Greenham Common and elsewhere who get near nuclear missiles are liable to be shot;

November 14, The first Cruise missiles arrive at Greenham Common;

December 20, The Rates Bill is published giving government power to cap spending by local authorities.

::1984:

January 25, Staff at GCHQ, Cheltenham, deprived of union membership and two days later Treasury and Cabinet Office civil servants walk out in protest;

March 9, Miners' strike begins;

March 23, Sarah Tisdall, a secretary in Geoffrey Howe's private office, is jailed for six months for releasing top secret document about Cruise missiles;

April 17, WPC Yvonne Fletcher murdered when shots fired from Libyan People's Bureau;

May 3, Tories lose Birmingham City Council in local elections;

May 29, Violence at Orgreave Pit, South Yorkshire, leaves 84 pickets arrested, 41 policemen and 28 pickets hurt; Arthur Scargill arrested at Orgreave and charged with obstruction the following day;

August 18, Clive Ponting, Ministry of Defence civil servant, charged under the Official Secrets Act;

September 16, Prince Harry born to Prince and Princess of Wales;

October 10, High Court fines the NUM £200,000 and Arthur Scargill £1,000 for contempt of court;

October 11, IRA bomb explodes at Grand Hotel, Brighton, during the Tory Party conference, with three killed and 32 injured;

November 2, Nigel Lawson announced abolition of the pound note.

:: 1985:

January 23, House of Lords televised for the first time;

March 4, Miners vote to return to work; Mrs Thatcher claims victory, but Scargill denies defeat;

March 11, Mikhail Gorbachev becomes Soviet leader;

May 11, Total of 56 fans killed in fire at Bradford City's football ground;

May 22, Liverpool fans rampage at Heysel Stadium in Belgium resulting in deaths of 38 Belgian and Italian fans;

May 31, English football clubs banned from Europe;

July 16, Local Government Bill abolishing the Greater London Council and other metropolitan counties becomes law;

August 22, Fifty-four holidaymakers killed when British Airtours Boeing 737 bursts into flames on take-off from Manchester Airport;

October 6, PC Keith Blakelock hacked to death at Broadwater Farm housing estate in north London;

:: 1986:

January 7, New European bid for Westland Helicopters followed by Michael Heseltine's resignation after Cabinet row;

January 24, Leon Brittan resigns as trade and industry secretary over leaking to the Press Association of letter berating Michael Heseltine's actions over Westland;

April 28, News reaches the west about the Chernobyl disaster;

July 23, Duke of York marries Sarah Ferguson;

October 26, Jeffrey Archer resigns as Tory deputy chairman after newspaper alleges he paid a prostitute to leave the country;

December 29, Harold Macmillan dies.

:: 1987:

January 21, Terry Waite disappears in Beirut;

March 6, Herald of Free enterprise rolls over outside Zeebrugge with 200 dead;

June 11, Mrs Thatcher wins historic third term as PM with majority of 102;

July 24, Jeffrey Archer wins £500,000 damages for libel against Daily Star who alleged he slept with prostitute; he was later imprisoned for perjury;

August 5, British spy satellite project, Zircon, abandoned at cost of £70 million;

August 8, David Owen resigns as leader of SDP after his members vote to merge with the Liberals;

August 19, Total of 15 dead and 16 wounded in Hungerford massacre;

September 23, Government loses court appeal to stop publication of Spycatcher;

October 9, Mrs Thatcher tells Tory conference that she wants at least seven more years as Prime Minister;

November 17, Government announces plans to replace rates with community charge.

:: 1988:

January 3, Mrs Thatcher becomes longest continuously serving PM this century;

January 10, Lord Whitelaw resigns as Leader of the House of Lords through ill health;

January 28, Junior health minister Edwina Currie says people should forgo holidays to pay for private health care;

February 2, Five lesbians abseil into chamber of House of Lords protesting about homosexuality laws;

March 6, Three IRA members shot dead in Gibraltar;

April 18, Total of 38 Tory back-benchers vote against flat-rate poll tax;

July 29, Paddy Ashdown becomes new leader of the centre party;

October 19, Home secretary bans broadcasting of interviews with members of paramilitary organisations;

December 16, Edwina Currie resigns after comments on Britain's egg production;

December 21, Lockerbie air atrocity, killing 270 people.

:: 1989:

January 17, Government publishes ill-fated Football Spectators Bill to force fans to carry ID cards;

February 2, Edward Heath blames "corrupt" press office at Downing Street for government leaks;

February 5, Britain's first satellite TV station, Sky, is launched;

February 14, Ayatollah Khomeini passes "death sentence" on Salman Rushdie for his "blasphemous" book The Satanic Verses;

March 3, Mrs Thatcher announces "we have become a grandmother";

June 15, In European elections, Labour win 45 and the Tories 32 of the 78 British seats;

July 24, In Cabinet reshuffle foreign secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe becomes leader of the Commons and is replaced by John Major;

September 22, IRA bomb kills 10 bandsmen at Royal Marines School of Music, in Deal, Kent;

October 26, Nigel Lawson resigns as Chancellor after row over Sir Alan Walters, Mrs Thatcher's economic adviser. Lawson replaced by John Major, with Douglas Hurd becoming Foreign Secretary;

December 5, Mrs Thatcher defeats Sir Anthony Meyer in leadership ballot.

:: 1990:

February 11, Nelson Mandela released after more than 27 years in South African prison;

March 31, Serious rioting after mass rally against the poll tax in Trafalgar Square;

April 1, Inmates start 24 days of rioting at Strangeways prison, Manchester;

July 14, Nicholas Ridley resigns from Cabinet after Spectator interview in which he claimed Germans aiming to take over Europe;

July 30, Tory MP Ian Gow killed by IRA car bomb outside his home;

August 2, Iraqi forces invade Kuwait;

October 23, Edward Heath returns from Baghdad with 37 British hostages;

November 1, Sir Geoffrey Howe resigns saying he could no longer serve with honour and then on November 13 makes devastating resignation speech;

November 2, Heseltine sends letter to constituency party saying Tories facing a crisis;

November 11, Mrs Thatcher says she will hit leadership challengers "all round the ground";

November 14, Heseltine launches leadership challenge;

November 20, Mrs Thatcher wins first ballot but without the required majority, declares: "I fight on. I fight to win";

November 22, Mrs Thatcher withdraws and announces her resignation;

November 27, John Major wins leadership battle to become, at 47, youngest prime minister of the 20th century.

end

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