On 28 November, 1990, Margaret Thatcher, dubbed the Iron Lady, resigned as British prime minister after over 11 years in office.
Thatcher was replaced by John Major after a leadership challenge amid Conservative Party unrest over her introduction of the poll tax, a levy on individuals that took no account of their ability to pay. Many senior Tories also disliked her opposition to closer ties with Europe.
Thatcher was the first woman to hold the post and remains the longest-serving British prime minister since 1827 – and one of its most divisive. Thatcher’s Conservatives were elected in 1979 after voters punished James Callaghan’s Labour administration for its perceived mishandling of the economy and its failure to control widespread strike action.
Her policies included privatising public industries; reducing the power of trade unions; cutting income taxes and shrinking the role of the state in the economy.
This laissez-faire brand of economics became known as Thatcherism. It succeeded in reducing inflation but drove up unemployment levels, which peaked at 3.3 million during her tenure. Critics of Thatcherism said her policies were attack on the welfare state and that they only succeeded in widening the gap between rich and poor.
She remained in the House of Commons until 1992 when she became Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven and took a seat in the House of Lords, Britain’s upper house of parliament.
Also on this day : Jordanian Prime Minister Wasti Tall is assassinated by Black September’s members in Cairo (1971) ; Norway rejects EU membership for the second time (1994) ; WikiLeaks publishes confidential US diplomatic cables (2010)
Born on November 28th : Willam Blake (1759), Jon Stewart (1962), Anna Nicole Smith (1967), Fabien Grosso (1977)