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Does Margaret Thatcher’s strong leadership hold lessons for Theresa May?

Comparisons are for the most part unhelpful but there is one point worth thinking over, says a man who served in Thatcher's first cabinet

By David Howell  

Photo: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

Photo: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

As the current political turmoil deepens the cry goes up for strong leadership, with Margaret Thatcher’s name inevitably invoked. “Oh yes,” you hear it said, “she would surely have settled things by now.”

But would she, and could she? And is the comparison between her premiership, beginning just under 40 years ago, and the present situation in any way helpful or valid?

One could begin by remembering that Thatcher had supreme contempt for referendums, so would not have been in the position of her beleaguered successor anyway. But that…

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