LONDON (AFP) – British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a trip to Europe on Monday, where he was lobbying EU leaders about reform, following the death of former premier Margaret Thatcher, Downing Street said.
“Yes he is cutting short his trip. He’s returning from Madrid, he’s expected back later today,” a Downing St spokesman told AFP.
Cameron was in Madrid for talks with Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy. He had been due to travel to Paris on Monday evening for talks with French President Francois Hollande but Downing Street confirmed that had now been postponed.
The life and times of Margaret Thatcher
Here is a chronology of the life of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, who died on Monday aged 87:
THE PATH TO POWER
– October 13, 1925: Margaret Hilda Roberts is born in Grantham, eastern England.
– October 1943: Begins chemistry degree at Oxford University.
– December 13, 1951: Marries businessman Denis Thatcher.
– August 15, 1953: Birth of twin children Carol and Mark.
– October 8, 1959: Harold Macmillan’s Conservative Party comes to power. Thatcher elected Conservative member of parliament for Finchley, north London.
– October 15, 1964: Re-elected despite Labour Party victory; becomes in turn opposition spokeswoman on pensions, then housing, treasury (deputy to finance spokesman), energy, transport and education.
– June 19, 1970: Conservatives regain power; Thatcher appointed education and science secretary.
– February 11, 1975: Thatcher elected Conservative leader after party enters opposition.
– June 5, 1975: 67.2 percent of Britons vote in favour of remaining in European Community; Thatcher campaigned for “yes” camp.
– May 3, 1979: Conservatives win election landslide after financial, social problems of Labour government; Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister.
– April 2, 1982: Argentina’s military junta invades Falkland Islands; a furious Thatcher sends troops and ships to recapture them.
– June 14, 1982: Argentina surrenders; Thatcher’s popularity soars.
– June 9, 1983: Thatcher leads Conservatives to re-election.
– March 12, 1984: Coal miners’ strike begins in northern England; drags on for a year before miners accept sweeping pit closures.
– June 25-26, 1984: Britain wins rebate on its European Community budget contributions.
– October 12, 1984: Irish Republican Army bombs Thatcher’s hotel at Conservative annual conference in Brighton, southern England; she escapes injury but five others are killed.
– November 20, 1984: State-owned British Telecom is privatised.
– December 16, 1984: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets Thatcher; afterwards she calls him as a man she “can do business with”.
– December 19, 1984: Thatcher signs joint declaration to return Hong Kong to China in July 1997.
– June 11, 1987: Thatcher leads Conservatives to third straight term in office.
– March 31, 1990: Riots in central London lead to demise of much-despised local community charge on property or “poll tax”.
– August 9, 1990: Thatcher commits Britain to US-led war with Iraq after dictator Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.
– November 28, 1990: Resigns after revolt amongst Conservatives over Europe policy.
– June 30, 1992: Takes her place in the upper House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.
– February 5, 1994: Becomes chancellor of College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the oldest university in the United States after Harvard.
– May 1997: Endorses young protege William Hague as he becomes new Conservative leader.
– March 26, 1999: Pays controversial visit to right-wing former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, held under house arrest outside London as he faced extradition to Spain on human rights charges.
– March 22, 2002: Doctors, worried by a string of small strokes, order Thatcher to cease public speaking on health grounds.
– June 26, 2003: Husband Denis Thatcher dies.
– June 11, 2004: Attends funeral in Washington for former US president and ideological soulmate Ronald Reagan, who she hails in a video-taped eulogy as a great American who “won the Cold War”.
– October 13, 2005: Celebrates her 80th birthday with a party at a chic London hotel with Queen Elizabeth II among the guests.
– December 7, 2005: Hospitalised for a night in London after complaining of feeling faint. Daughter Carol later reveals Thatcher suffers from memory loss.
– March 7, 2008: Spends night in hospital after feeling unwell at a parliamentary function.
– June 2009: Spends two weeks in hospital after breaking left arm in a fall at home.
– June 8, 2010: After winning the May general election, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes her back to Downing Street for a reception in her honour.
– October 14, 2010: Misses her 85th birthday party at Downing Street with flu before being admitted to hospital with an infection.
– December 20, 2012: Admitted to hospital after procedure to remove a growth from her bladder.
– April 8, 2013: Dies aged 87 following a stroke.