Margaret Thatcher: In her own words

A selection of The Iron Lady's memorable quotes

Margaret Thatcher was renowned for her no-nonsense turn of phrase.

* “I wasn't lucky. I deserved it” - Comment on receiving a school prize, aged nine.

* “There is no alternative” - Comment made on several occasions about her economic policy, giving rise, through the initial letters of the word, to her nickname “Tina”.

* “It will be years - and not in my time - before a woman will lead the party or become Prime Minister” - Speech, 1974.

* “Let our children grow tall, and some taller than others if they have it in them to do so” - Speech in United States in 1975.

* “I stand before you tonight in my green chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved. The Iron Lady of the Western World? Me? A cold war warrior? Well, yes - if that is how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life” - Speech in 1976 after the Kremlin dubbed her the Iron Lady.

* “I can trust my husband not to fall asleep on a public platform and he usually claps in the right places” - Interview, 1978.

* “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country” - Election campaign, 1979.

* “If a woman like Eva Peron with no ideals can get that far, think how far I can go with all the ideals that I have” - Interview in 1980.

* “To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say, you turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning” - Speech at Conservative Party conference, 1980.

* “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well” - Television interview, 1980.

* “We knew what we had to do and we went about it and did it. Great Britain is great again” - Comment at end of Falklands conflict.

* “Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth” - Interview, 1982.

* “And what a prize we have to fight for: no less than the chance to banish from our land the dark divisive clouds of Marxist socialism” - Speech to Scottish Tories, 1983.

* “The National Health Service is safe in our hands” - Conservative Party conference, 1983.

* “State socialism is totally alien to the British character” - Interview, 1983.

* “That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared. And the fact we are gathered here, now, shocked but composed and determined, is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail” - Tory conference, 1984, a few hours after the Brighton bomb outrage which nearly killed her.

* “I think, historically, the term 'Thatcherism' will be seen as a compliment” - Speech, 1985.

* “Why, Marks and Spencer of course. Doesn't everyone?” - When asked where she bought her underwear, 1986.

* “There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families” - Interview, 1987.

* “I am certain we will win the election with a good majority. Not that I am ever over-confident” - Comment during 1987 election campaign which she won with a three-figure majority.

* “We are a grandmother” - On the birth of her grandson, Michael, February, 1989.

* “The Chancellor is unassailable” - Comment about Nigel Lawson only days before he resigned from the Government in 1989.

* “I fight on. I fight to win” - Statement on November 21, 1990, after she was forced into a second ballot in the leadership battle, but she in fact withdrew before it occurred.

* “Having consulted widely among colleagues, I have concluded that the unity of the party and the prospects of victory in a general election would be better served if I stood down to enable Cabinet colleagues to enter the ballot for the leadership” - Statement the following day.

* “It's a funny old world” - Comment after her decision to quit in November 1990, pointing out that she had never lost an election in her life, yet had been forced to stand down.

* “The Mummy returns” - During the 2001 general election campaign after passing a poster publicising a film of that name.

Further reading:

Obituary: Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first and only female prime minister

Margaret Thatcher: Round-up of today's full coverage

PA

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

Maths Teacher (Swindon and Wiltshire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for short-term cover, l...

Science Teacher 0.4

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Science Teacher 0.4 - Immediat...

Maths Teacher (Bath and North East Somerset)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for day to day cover, l...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week