'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher passes away

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Margaret Thatcher
London, April 8: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away on Monday. She was 87. She died of stroke.

Born as Margaret Hilda Thatcher on October 12, 1925, she was the longest-serving prime minister (1979-90) of the UK. In fact, she is the only woman to have become the British prime minister till date. She was referred to as "Iron Lady" for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. The Conservative politician's policies were known as Thatcherism.

Thatcher was a research chemist before becoming a barrister and later became an elected Member of the Parliament from Finchley in 1959. In 1975, she had become the Leader of the Opposition and the first woman to lead a major political party in the UK. She eventually became the PM after winning the 1979 general election.

After being elected as the PM, Thatcher had introduced a series of political and economic measures to reverse what she had thought to be the UK's national decline. She believed in deregulation, flexible labour markets, privatisation of state-owned companies and reducing the power of the trade unions.

Although Thatcher's popularity had waned amid economic hardship, the subsequent economic recovery and the 1982 Falklands War revived her support base and she was re-elected in 1983.

Thatcher was elected again in 1987 but her Community Charge proved to be unpopular and her views on the European Community were not accepted by many in her own Cabinet. She resigned as the PM and party leader in November 1990.

Thatcher held a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire and she was entitled to sit in the House of Lords.

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