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General election victory remarks, 1979

Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)

Location: 10 Downing Street

… . Well, it's been a wonderful campaign. Congratulations!

Mrs. Thatcher:

Thank you very much.

Question:

How do you feel at this moment?

Mrs. Thatcher:

Very excited, very aware of the responsibilities. Her Majesty The Queen has asked me to form a new administration and I have accepted. It is, of course, the greatest honour that can come to any citizen in a democracy. (Cheering) I know full well the responsibilities that await me as I enter the door of No. 10 and I'll strive unceasingly to try to fulfil the trust and confidence that the British people have placed in me and the things in which I believe. And I would just like to remember some words of St. Francis of Assisi which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment. ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’ … .[fo 1] … . and to all the British people—howsoever they voted—may I say this. Now that the Election is over, may we get together and strive to serve and strengthen the country of which we're so proud to be a part. [Interruption "Prime Minister … ."] And finally, one last thing: in the words of Airey Neave whom we had hoped to bring here with us, ‘There is now work to be done’.

Question:

Prime Minister, could I ask you if you would tell us what sort of administration you would like to have over the next five years?

Mrs. Thatcher:

Well, we shall be going inside and we shall be getting on with that as fast as we can … . but I think the first job is to try to form a Cabinet. We must get that done. We can't really just …

Question:

How soon do you think you'll be able to name your Cabinet?

Mrs. Thatcher:

Well, certainly not today. I hope to have some news by tomorrow evening. It's a very important thing. It's not a thing that should be suddenly rushed through. It's very important.

Question:

And what will you be doing for the rest of today?

Mrs. Thatcher:

I shall be here working.

Question:

Have you got any thoughts, Mrs. Thatcher, at this moment about Mrs. Pankhurst and your own mentor in political life—your own father?

Mrs. Thatcher:

Well, of course, I just owe almost everything to my own father. I really do. He brought me up to believe all the things that I do believe and they're just the values on which I've fought the Election. And it's passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the Election. Gentlemen, you're very kind. May I just go …

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