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Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 08:45 GMT
Remembering Thatcher: The day she retired
Resignation day
The former PM arrives at Buckingham Palace to resign
On 22 November 1990, Margaret Thatcher tearfully told her Cabinet that she would be stepping down.

Two days earlier, in the first ballot for the leadership, she polled 204 votes to Michael Heseltine's 152. Under party's rules, it was not enough to win.

The result signalled the end of an 11-year reign at Number 10, an era in which Baroness Thatcher ushered in free markets, deregulation and scaled-down trade unions.


Steve Nallon, Thatcher impersonator

Go out for milk. Come home. Switch on the radio at 9.45am, Radio Four: "We now go over to the newsroom..."

I knew at that moment she was a goner.

Steve Nallon
Steve Nallon in his Maggie get-up
At 9.57am, the phone rings. The Sun wants a picture of me dressed as Mrs Has-been outside a job centre. I say no. They offer money. I agree.

I sing to myself Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead from The Wizard of Oz to add to the unreality of this funny old world.

Everyone wants to know what will I do now? How should I know?

Get dressed up. Do photo. Get back into civvies. Another phone call - the slap goes back on...

Midnight. I am in Parliament Square dressed as Herself doing my last interview.

Hail a taxi. Go home. Sleep well.


John O'Farrell, author of Things Can Only Get Better and former Spitting Image writer

Thatcher Spitting Image puppet
The former PM provided much material for satirists
I was working on a topical satire show that had to go out that night - all the material had to be changed to celebrate the demise of our great leader.

Then I went to Downing Street, hoping to see her being dragged kicking and screaming from the building.

But there was just me and a couple of Socialist Workers shouting: "Maggie Maggie Maggie, gone gone gone!"

There was a noticeable shortage of bunting.


Peter York, style guru and co-author of The Sloane Ranger Handbook

When she faced the cameras in France after the first leadership vote, she seemed completely unaware what a second vote would mean.

I remember thinking: "This is Marie Antoinette and the penny hasn't dropped."

One remembers how she looked as she left Downing Street to give her resignation to the Queen, close to tears it seemed.

Just the year before the papers had been full of articles celebrating her "10 glorious years" in power. She was invincible. People were asking if she was going to be our impregnable empress for ever. The pride before the fall.

With her departure, the 80s as everyone had known them were over. She was the decade's iconic figure.

People said things would never be the same again. Of course things were the same - only more so.


BBC political editor Andrew Marr, who worked at The Economist at the time

It was an incredibly hard and exciting working day. I had spent most of the previous few days in the House of Commons.


I saw one Thatcherite in tears

Andrew Marr
I remember talking endlessly to senior Tories about the state of play. We had just had the rollercoaster of the Lawson and Howe resignations.

We were clustered in the corridors outside the chamber waiting for people coming and going. They were crowded with Tories.

There were people fighting their way to get in to see Mrs Thatcher. Some of the [Thatcherite] No Turning Back group were incredibly depressed when she resigned. I saw one of them in tears.


Politicial cartoonist Ralph Steadman

I was probably on the lavatory when I heard. I remember having a stomach upset at the time.

I did a drawing in which she was this figure of strength and at the same time a bit of a twit.

She was leaning against a wall weeping, and somebody says to her: "I do apologise. I thought you were a Margaret Thatcher look-alike. I didn't think you actually were Margaret Thatcher."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Professor Ben Pimlott, Goldsmiths College
"The Thatcher style has enriched the English language"
Boris Johnson, editor of The Spectator
"It was fashionable for artists to mock her"
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