- No woman in my time will be Prime Minister or Chancellor or Foreign Secretary—not the top jobs. Anyway I wouldn't want to be Prime Minister. You have to give yourself 100%.
on her appointment as Shadow Education Spokesman
in Sunday Telegraph 26 October 1969
- In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
in People (New York) 15 September 1975
- I stand before you tonight in my red chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved…the Iron Lady of the Western World! Me? A cold war warrior? Well, yes—if that is how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life.
speech at Finchley, 31 January 1976; ‘The Iron Lady’ was the name given to her by the Soviet defence ministry newspaper Red Star, which accused her of trying to revive the cold war
- Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money.
often quoted as ‘the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money’
interview, This Week Thames TV, 5 February 1976
- Pennies don't fall from heaven. They have to be earned on earth.
18 November 1979; see Burke
- No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well.
television interview, 6 January 1980
- I don't mind how much my Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say.
in Observer 27 January 1980
- There is no real alternative.
popularly encapsulated in the acronym tina
speech at Conservative Women's Conference, 21 May 1980
- We shall not be diverted from our course. To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catch-phrase, the U-turn, I have only this to say. ‘You turn if you want to; the lady's not for turning.’
speech at Conservative Party Conference in Brighton, 10 October 1980; see Fry
- Just rejoice at that news and congratulate our armed forces and the Marines. Rejoice!
on the recapture of South Georgia, usually quoted as, ‘Rejoice, rejoice!’
to newsmen outside 10 Downing Street, 25 April 1982
- What really thrilled me, having spent so much of my lifetime in Parliament, and talking about things like inflation, Social Security benefits, housing problems, environmental problems and so on, is that when it really came to the test, what's thrilled people wasn't those things, what thrilled people was once again being able to serve a great cause, the cause of liberty.
on the Falklands campaign, 1982, often summarized as ‘It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands, when you have spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment’, as quoted in Hugo Young One of Us (1990)
speech to Scottish Conservative Party conference, 14 May 1982; John Campbell The Iron Lady (2008)
- We have to see that the spirit of the South Atlantic—the real spirit of Britain—is kindled not only by war but can now be fired by peace. We have the first prerequisite. We know that we can do it—we haven't lost the ability. That is the Falklands Factor.
speech in Cheltenham, 3 July 1982
- I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am.
speech to the British Jewish Community, 21 July 1983, referring to an interview earlier that year
- Now it must be business as usual.
on the steps of Brighton police station a few hours after the bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton; often quoted as ‘We shall carry on as usual’
in Times 13 October 1984
- We can do business together.
in Times 18 December 1984
- We must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.
speech to American Bar Association in London, 15 July 1985
- There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.
in Woman's Own 31 October 1987
- We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the State in Britain only to see them reimposed at European level, with a European super-State exercising a new dominance from Brussels.
speech in Bruges, 20 September 1988
- We have become a grandmother.
in Times 4 March 1989
- I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
in Observer 4 April 1989
- I am naturally very sorry to see you go, but understand…your wish to be able to spend more time with your family.
reply to Norman Fowler
's resignation letter
4 January 1990; see Fowler
- No! No! No!
making clear her opposition to a single European currency, and more centralized controls from Brussels
in the House of Commons, 30 October 1990
- I fight on, I fight to win.
having failed to win outright in the first ballot for party leader
comment, 21 November 1990
- It's a funny old world.
on withdrawing from the contest for leadership of the Conservative party
- Home is where you come to when you have nothing better to do.
in Vanity Fair May 1991
- Every Prime Minister needs a Willie.
at the farewell dinner to Lord Whitelaw
in Guardian 7 August 1991