10. Defining moments of the Thatcher years | The resignation speech | 28 November 1990

A new chapter . . .

After announcing her resignation six days earlier, Margaret Thatcher left Downing Street for the last time on 28 November 1990.

With tears in her eyes, she entered the House of Commons to deliver her final speech, and the very same men and women who had facilitated her resignation cheered and waved their order papers. Labour MPs yelled accusations of hypocrisy at their opponents and seemed genuinely upset by her departure.

Nonetheless, she received a standing ovation both before and after her speech, in which she declared her time in office a success and offered her support to her successor, John Major:

We're leaving Downing Street for the last time after 11 and a half wonderful years and we're happy to leave the UK in a very much better state than when we came here.

Now it's time for a new chapter to open and I wish John Major all the luck in the world.

After her speech, she and her husband, Denis, were driven to Buckingham Palace for a meeting with the Queen, and then they returned to her private house in Dulwich. The speech marked the departure of the longest-serving British prime minister since 1827, and the end of service of Britain's first and only female prime minister.

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