Speeches, etc.

Speeches, interviews & other statements

The core of this site is a massive database of MT's public statements of all kinds across the years (speeches, interviews, press conferences, etc), searchable by date, subject, importance, and keyword.

The items stored in this section of the site are texts, but many of the most important statements are also available in audio or video form in the separate Multimedia section.


Between 1945-90 every statement made by Margaret Thatcher is listed, as far as can be known. There are more than 8,000.

Since 1990 a selection of statements is listed. (MT gave up public speaking in March 2002.)

Texts for listed statements are available on the site in almost 70 per cent of cases.

The remainder are listed without a text because sometimes no record survives or copyright prevents reproduction on the site.

Where copyright is the problem, the full text can be found on the Complete Public Statements of Margaret Thatcher on CD-ROM, 1945-90, edited Christopher Collins (Oxford University Press, 1998-2000). Such items have an CD icon next to them in the second column of the results list.

Buy the CD-ROM from this link or find one of the 1600 libraries around the world which hold the CD-ROM.

The preface to the Oxford CD-ROM explains how the statements were assembled and edited for the disk. This site follow the same rules (and shares an editor).

Ten famous speeches, interviews, etc.

Read ten famous items

Highlights: 1945-79

MT gave her first speech in July 1945, delivered in a town close to Grantham while she was an Oxford student home for the university holidays.

She made her maiden speech in the House of Commons on 5 February 1960 and gave her first television interview the following day. She was able to reach Cabinet rank in 1970 without appearing on television more than a handful of times.

In 1968 she gave a lecture asking What's wrong with politics? which revealed a good deal as to her political outlook at the time.

MT won election as Conservative leader on 11 February 1975 and gave a euphoric performance at a Press Conference afterwards.

In January 1976 she gave the speech which caused the Soviets to dub her "the Iron Lady".

The Winter of Discontent in 1978-79 brought rhetorical as well as political opportunities. She made one of her best Parliamentary speeches in a debate on the strikes.

Highlights: 1979-90

MT prayed on the steps of Downing Street on 4 May 1979.

After the Dublin European Council in November 1979 she began a long battle with the European Community when she declared that she wanted our money back.

At the October 1980 Conservative Conference, in the midst of economic recession, she warned that she was not for turning.

She invited the press to rejoice at the capture of South Georgia on 25 April 1982 and announced that White Flags were flying over Port Stanley on 14 June.

At Cheltenham the following month she drew an important moral from the Falklands war: "We have ceased to be a nation in retreat".

In January 1983 she talked of "Victorian Values".

In October 1984 she survived an IRA bomb during the Conservative Conference at Brighton, insisting that the Conference go on and making her big speech the following day as scheduled.

Meeting Gorbachev for the first time in December 1984 she declared: "We can do business together".

She defended Ronald Reagan's decision to bomb Libya in April 1986 and spoke in his defence during the IranContra affair later that year..

Elected for a third term in June 1987, she told an interviewer "there is no such thing as society" and is still being scolded for the remark.You can read here exactly what she said, verbatim and in context.

At Bruges in September 1988 she outraged European orthodoxy by declaring: "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels".

A week later she spoke with concern about global warming, having done more than any other politician to secure international action to repair the damaged ozone layer.

On 30 October 1990 she made the first of the series of famous statements that marked the end of her premiership, rejecting Commission proposals at the Rome European Council with the words "No, no, no".

When Sir Geoffrey Howe resigned in consequence, she replied to his resignation letter on 1 November, defended herself against rough bowling at the Lord Mayor's Banquet (12 November) and gave three press interviews (15-17 November) when Howe's resignation speech led Michael Heseltine to run against her for the party leadership.

Unable to win the leadership ballot outright, she stood on the steps of the British Embassy in Paris and stated her intention to allow her name to go forward to the second ballot (20 November). When she returned from Paris many cabinet colleagues showed that they did not want her to go on (21 November) and that night she made the decision to resign. The resignation was announced in a statement the following morning (22 November), hours before she delivered an outstanding defence of the Government in the Commons.

She made her remarks departing Downing Street on 28 November.

Highlights: since 1990

After leaving office, MT widened and deepened her criticism of the European Union in a speech at The Hague in May 1992.

She was among the first Western leaders to make the case for intervention to protect Bosnia when Serb concentration camps were revealed in August 1992.

She attacked the Treaty of Maastricht in a speech to the House of Lords in June 1993.

Following several small strokes she announced, in March 2002, that her career as a speechmaker had ended. When President Reagan died in June 2004, she delivered a deeply felt eulogy, filmed in advance and relayed by video link to screens in the National Cathedral in Washington. This was her last important public statement.