Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Dubai visit in the 1980s.
Popularly known as the Iron Lady, Thatcher held office from 1979 to 1990. It was during this period that she visited the UAE. Thatcher, 87, died of a stroke in London on April 8, 2013.
Thatcher’s talent and drive caused her to be mentioned as a future Prime Minister in her early 20s although she herself was more pessimistic, stating as late as 1970 that “There will not be a woman prime minister in my lifetime—the male population is too prejudiced.” In October 1961 she was promoted to the front bench as Parliamentary Undersecretary at the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance in Harold Macmillan’s administration. Thatcher was the youngest woman in history to receive such a post, and among the first MPs elected in 1959 to be promoted. After the Conservatives lost the 1964 election she became spokeswoman on Housing and Land, in which position she advocated her party’s policy of allowing tenants to buy their council houses. She moved to the Shadow Treasury team in 1966 and, as Treasury spokeswoman, opposed Labour’s mandatory price and income controls, arguing that they would produce effects contrary to those intended and distort the economy.
By 1966 party leaders viewed Thatcher as a potential Shadow Cabinet member. James Prior proposed her as a member after the Conservatives’ 1966 defeat, but party leader Edward Heath and Chief Whip Willie Whitelaw chose Mervyn Pike as the shadow cabinet’s sole woman member. At the Conservative Party Conference of 1966 she criticised the high-tax policies of the Labour Government as being steps “not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism”, arguing that lower taxes served as an incentive to hard work. Thatcher was one of the few Conservative MPs to support Leo Abse’s Bill to decriminalise male homosexuality. She voted in favour of David Steel’s bill to legalise abortion, as well as a ban on hare coursing. She supported the retention of capital punishment and voted against the relaxation of divorce laws.
Location of World Trade Centre Dubai: