Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Thatcher misses her 85th birthday party

Baroness Thatcher was forced to pull out of a Downing St party organised to mark her 85th birthday last night after falling ill with the flu.

But the former Prime Minister insisted that the special event, due to be attended by around 150 friends and former colleagues, should go ahead without her. A No 10 spokesman said another party would be organised for her when she was fit enough to attend it.

Lady Thatcher would have been surrounded by familiar faces had she been well enough to appear, with many of her former Cabinet colleagues in attendance.

Sir Bernard Ingham, her loyal spokesman, and Lord Carrington, her one-time Defence Secretary who resigned upon news that Argentina had invaded the Falklands, all accepted invites. Along with David Cameron, current member of the Cabinet due to attend includes Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling.

Lady Thatcher, who now rarely speaks in public, has suffered from minor strokes. She was taken ill during a Westminster dinner in March 2008, and spent the night in hospital.

A No 10 spokesman said last night: "Lady Thatcher is unable to attend the birthday party at No 10 after being taken ill with flu at home."