MPs vote Margaret Thatcher ‘best modern prime minister’
The Iron Lady scores particularly highly for decisiveness, as she just beats Clement Attlee into second place
She was known for being a divisive figure when she was in power, and her death last year provoked as much sadness as it did celebration, but amongst MPs Margaret Thatcher’s popularity is a little clearer.
The woman known as the “Iron Lady” has been voted by politicians of all parties as the most successful prime minister since the Second World War – scoring particularly highly for her decisiveness.
Conservative Thatcher just managed to pip Labour’s Clement Attlee – one of the driving forces behind the creation of the NHS – into second place in the poll, which spoke to 158 MPs, and was conducted by politics and international relations undergraduates at Royal Holloway University in London.
The survey covered prime ministers from Clement Attlee to Gordon Brown, with most MPs citing decisiveness as a more important characteristic in a leader than intelligence, principles, energy, ruthlessness or honesty.
Respondents were asked to score past PMs on a 10-point scale across 12 traits. Thatcher had an average score of 7.4, a single percentage point more than Attlee on 7.3, and ahead of Tony Blair (6.8) and Winston Churchill, judged for his postwar stint in the job, on 6.5.
It was bad news for Gordon Brown, however, who was judged to be the worst of Britain’s 13 modern leaders, scoring just 3.3.
Dr Nicholas Allen, Royal Holloway’s senior lecturer in politics, who oversaw the survey, said that “Thatcher has a unique place in the minds of British MPs”.
“As well as being judged the most successful prime minister, she also elicited the widest range of responses. In death as in life the Iron Lady remains a divisive figure, idolised by some, condemned by others.”
Unsurprisingly, it was part affiliation that was the strongest predictor of perceived success, though Edward Heath bucked this trend. The man who took Britain into Europe was rated more highly by Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs than Conservatives.
“It’s not surprising that MPs perceive Thatcher, Attlee and Blair to be the most successful prime ministers. Attlee and Thatcher both presided over fundamental shifts in British politics, while Blair, like Thatcher, was a proven election winner. When it comes to winning big majorities, David Cameron still has much to prove,” added Dr Allen.
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
'Jihadi John': Mohammed Emwazi – from British computer programmer to Isis executioner
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...