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Maggie! Maggie! Maggie!

Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Mrs Thatcher c/o Getty Images
Baroness Thatcher today - remembered in cartoons

On 4 May 2009, it will be 30 years since Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister.

To commemorate the anniversary the Cartoon Museum in London has put together an exhibition of satirical sketches from across the political spectrum.

Curated by Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell and former Conservative Education Secretary Lord Baker, the collection features cartoons from throughout Mrs Thatcher's political career.

Mrs Thatcher - a cartoon history

Mrs Thatcher's relationship with the media was a favourite subject for cartoonists, as the 1979 cartoon below shows.

The cartoon depicts the Prime Minister's anger at the BBC over a Panorama documentary on the IRA. Mrs Thatcher claimed the BBC had stage managed a sequence showing an IRA checkpoint.

Mrs Thatcher cartoon by Les Gibbard
Les Gibbard's cartoon depicts the Prime Minister's anger at the BBC over a Panorama documentary on the IRA

'Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher'

An early cartoon incarnation of Mrs Thatcher is the sketch below by Les Gibbard from 1975.

Maggie the milk snatcher c/o Les Gibbard
'Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher' - an early cartoon incarnation by Les Gibbard from 1975

It depicts Mrs Thatcher's victory over Willie Whitelaw to become Conservative Party Leader, the first woman in British politics to do so.

The cartoon also shows that while Education Secretary between 1970-74, Mrs Thatcher oversaw the abolition of free milk to school children aged seven to eleven, earning her the nickname 'Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher'

'Maggie', the media and monarchy

Maggie on Water c/o Charles Griffin
This cartoon by Charles Griffin shows the Prime Minister walking on water

The Falklands War is seen by many as the defining moment of Mrs Thatcher's first term.

A cartoon by Charles Griffin showing the Prime Minister walking on water, was published in the Daily Express following her surprise visit to the Falkland Islands in 1983.

The Falklands victory was seen by many as helping to boost her popularity ahead of the 1983 general election.

A Martin Rowson cartoon from July 1987 depicts Margaret Thatcher meeting the Queen to discuss the dissolution honours list.

Maggie meets the Queen c/o  Martin Rowson
When Margaret met Elizabeth. Martin Martin Rowson's Today cartoon - July 1987

Of the 11 new Conservative life peers, seven were former Cabinet members who had served under Mrs Thatcher.

The government denied press reports suggesting there had been disagreement with Buckingham Palace over the list.

Thatcher's leadership style under attack

Geoffrey bowls a bouncer
Howe's That! Charles Griffin, Daily Mirror, November 1990

A cartoon from the Daily Mirror came the day after Deputy Prime Minister Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech in November 1990.

Mr Howe had resigned over policy on Europe and used his Commons speech to attack Mrs Thatcher's leadership style.

Mrs Thatcher eventually pulled out of the Conservative leadership contest which followed and resigned as PM later that month.

She was succeeded by John Major who went on to win the 1992 general election.

In November 2000, a decade after she left office, Mrs Thatcher criticised the Labour government's plans to contribute to an EU rapid reaction force.

Tony Blair denounced Mrs Thatcher's legacy c/o Steve Bell/Cartoon Museum Collection
Steve Bell's End of the Affair - The Guardian, November 2000

Responding to the former Prime Minister's criticism, Tony Blair denounced Mrs Thatcher's legacy.

At the time he said it was time to "'move British politics beyond the time of Margaret Thatcher".

Photo credits

The cartoons in this web feature are reproduced by kind permission of the Cartoon Museum Collection, the Guardian and Observer Archive, and cartoonists Les Gibbard, Charles Griffin, Martin Rowson and Steve Bell.

More 'Maggie'...

'Maggie! Maggie! Maggie!', an exhibition of satirical cartoons on Margaret Thatcher, runs at the Cartoon Museum from 6 May to 26 July .

The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH.

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