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UK Politics

Thatcher spends night in hospital after breaking arm

Baroness Thatcher spent Friday night in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London for observation after breaking her arm in a fall at home.

The 83-year-old former prime minister was taken to hospital by ambulance after she tripped yesterday morning and broke a bone in her upper arm, her private secretary Mark Worthington said. "She had a fall and injured her arm, and is in hospital. Her spirits were quite good on the way to hospital, although she was in a bit of discomfort with the injury," he said.

Doctors initially agreed to discharge Lady Thatcher yesterday afternoon, but changed their minds and decided to keep her in overnight for observation. The fall follows a number of health scares in recent years. In 2005 she was treated in hospital after suffering a dizzy spell at her hairdresser's. In March last year she spent a night in hospital after feeling unwell at a House of Lords dinner.

Last summer her daughter spoke for the first time about the ex-premier's battle with dementia. Carol Thatcher said her mother was struggling to finish sentences, did not know where she lived, and even forgot that her husband, Denis, had died. Several years ago she reduced her commitments, and stopped speaking in public on the advice of doctors.

Her most recent appearance was earlier in the week at the Carlton Club in London, to mark the 30th anniversary of her historic election victory. Lady Thatcher also had a meeting with Pope Benedict in Rome last month.

She was visited by her son, Sir Mark Thatcher, this morning, who said she was is in "good spirits".

"She had a very good night and was relaxed and slept well," he said. "She has had some painkillers but was in very good order and had a bit of mischief about her."

Asked when his mother is likely to leave hospital, he said: "That is entirely a matter for the clinicians and we will have to wait and see."