10 Days That Toppled Thatcher

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20151101

James Landale examines the dramatic fall of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's longest serving prime minister in the twentieth century. Why was she ousted from Number 10 after eleven years in power, when she had not been defeated at a general election or in the House of Commons?

In this programme, James Landale talks with key insiders and witnesses of the Tory leadership crisis during ten days of November 1990 - from Geoffrey Howe's electrifying personal statement in the Commons on Tuesday 13th November explaining why he had resigned from the Cabinet, to Number 10's announcement on Thursday 22nd of Thatcher's decision to resign as prime minister.

Why couldn't Margaret Thatcher, who had led her party to three successive general election victories, survive Heseltine's challenge, especially after more Tory MPs backed her in the first round of the contest than voted for him? How and why did Margaret Thatcher finally accept that she should resign? Was she the victim of a coup in her Cabinet? James Landale establishes what happened behind the scenes during the ten days that toppled Thatcher.

Producer: Rob Shepherd