Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher, a former research chemist and barrister, was elected Conservative MP for Finchley in 1959, holding the seat until her retirement from the House of Commons in 1992.
At the 1979 General Election she was elected Britain's first female prime minister. She was prime minister for 11 years, leading the Conservatives to three general election victories, before resigning in 1990.
She was also Secretary of State for Education and Science from 1970-1974, becoming leader of the Conservative Party in 1975.
Baroness Thatcher became a member of the Lords in 1992. In the House of Lords, Baroness Thatcher mainly participated in debates on foreign affairs. In 1992, she spoke of her experiences as prime minister when arranging the joint declaration with China on the future of Hong Kong, and spoke on the European Communities (Amendment) Bill in 1993. In 1999, she contributed to the debate on the Scott Report, concerning allegations of UK arms dealing with Iraq. She made her last speech in the House of Lords later that year.
- Read the transcript of Margaret Thatcher's maiden speech in the House of Commons
- Watch Margaret Thatcher's last appearance at Prime Minister's Question Time (external website)
- Read the transcript of Baroness Thatcher's maiden speech in the House of Lords
- Find out more about the statue of Baroness Thatcher in the Palace of Westminster