Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech on being reelected MP for Finchley

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Barnet Town Hall, Finchley
Source: Barnet Press , 11 May 1979
Journalist: John Dawkins, Barnet Press , reporting
Editorial comments: Around 0230. The BBC Radio News Report has concluding words omitted in the press report: "The morning is yet young and we don’t quite know what it will hold. But I would like to say that whatever that may be I’ve taken courage and inspiration from being your member here for twenty years - sufficient ourage and inspiration to face whatever the future may hold". MT declined to give an interview to either Michael Charlton (BBC) or Anna Ford (ITN) who were covering the count.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 598
Themes: General Elections

Jubilation for Mrs. Thatcher

Amid scenes of great jubilation Margaret Thatcher was returned as MP for Finchley at Hendon Town Hall in the early hours of Friday.

On a night when she became the first woman Prime Minister of a major western nation, Mrs. Thatcher was cheered and clapped into the council chamber as the party faithfuls stood up to receive their leader.

Press photographers jostled to capture Mrs. Thatcher in her moment of glory, and television cameras focused on Cr. Jimmy Sapsted, enjoying the limelight in his last few days as Barnet 's mayor, when he announced the result at 2.25 a.m.

Mrs. Thatcher polled 20,918 votes, doubling her 1974 majority from 3,911 to 7,878, ahead of her nearest rival, Labour candidate Richard May.

Liberal Anthony Paterson received 5,254 votes, 2,000 fewer than Laurence Brass in 1974.

William Verity, of the National Front, polled 534 votes and lost his deposit. Independent Democrat Mrs. Elizabeth Lloyd received 86 votes. She, too, lost her deposit.

A great cheer could be heard from the crowd outside the town hall as soon as the result was announced. Afterwards, Mrs. Thatcher rose to speak amid a chorus of cheering from her supporters and booing from her opponents.

She said she would like to commiserate with her opponents and suggested they might have done better by fighting other seats.

“I am proud to represent Finchley and Friern Barnet again,” she said. “Although the night is young, and I don't know what it may hold, I have taken courage and inspiration from being your MP for the last 20 years.”

Against much jeering from Barnet Tories, Labour's Richard May claimed a moral victory against Mrs. Thatcher.

“I have fought against the ballyhoo of the media and the public, and against the leader of a major political party,” he said. “Yet I have succeeded in increasing our vote over 1974.” Labour's share went up from 12,587 to 13,040.

To cries of “never” from the Tories, Mr. May added that Finchley Labour Party would live to fight and take the seat in due course.

Mr. Paterson, the Liberal candidate and an ex-policeman, pointed to the large number of people in their 20s and 30s who voted Liberal.

“Mrs. Thatcher likes to think the Liberals don't exist. She won't be able to do that in the future,” he said.

Despite being told to sit down, the National Front candidate, Mr. Verity, said he was glad voters had demonstrated their faith in the country's future.

Mrs. Lloyd, the Independent Democrat, said she met some “very charming people.”

After receiving congratulations from her supporters, Mrs. Thatcher left Hendon Town Hall for the Conservative Party headquarters in London.

The Tory leader arrived at Hendon at 11.45 p.m., surrounded by an army of Press, television and security men. Accompanying her was her journalist daughter, Carol, who returned from Australia for the election.

Declaration of the Finchley result was delayed half an hour because of a recount when it was discovered that 291 voting slips were missing.


(No Change)

Margaret Thatcher

(Con.) dubellip; 20,918

Richard May (Lab.) 13,040

Anthony Paterson

(Lib.)…   .5,254

William Verity (National Front) 534

Elizabeth Lloyd (Independent Democrat) …   . 86

Con. majority 7,878. Poll, 72.5 per cent.