Margaret Thatcher voted Britain’s greatest post-war Prime Minister in poll

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7th May 2019 12:12 - Central Government

Margaret Thatcher voted Britain’s greatest post-war Prime Minister in poll: A survey has revealed that more than a fifth of respondents polled believe Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, has been the greatest leader since the end of the Second World War.

The Iron Lady’s closest contender in the YouGov poll was Winston Churchill, who out of the 14 Prime Ministers since 1945 came in second, with 19% of the vote.

Labour leader, Tony Blair came in third, with 6% of respondents saying he was the greatest UK PM, followed by Clement Attlee, also Labour, gaining 5% of the vote.

Other leaders charting were Harold Wilson (4%), John Major (2%), Harold MacMillan (1%) and Gordon Brown (1%).

More people felt Thatcher was a ‘great’ or ‘good’ leader (44%) compared to those who thought she was ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’ (29%). Just 18% of Labour voters thought she was ‘great’ or ‘good’ compared to 76% of Conservative voters and 42% of Lib Dem backers.

Greatest successes of Margaret Thatcher

Looking at the great successes of Margaret Thatcher during her tenure as PM, 41% felt her greatest achievement was becoming Great Britain’s first ever female Prime Minister, while 29% felt winning the Falklands War was her most notable success. Just over a fifth (22%) felt her greatest success was winning three consecutive general elections (22%), while two in ten said getting a rebate on Britain’s contributions to the EEC was her best achievement.

Other answers given included defeating the miners’ strike and limiting union powers (17%), introducing ‘right to buy’ and expanding home ownership (17%), making British culture aspirational and entrepreneurial (11%), contribution to winning the Cold War (9%) and privatising utilities such as British Gas or BT (4%).

Eleven percent (11%) said ‘none of these’ while 17% answered ‘don’t know’.

Greatest failures of Margaret Thatcher

When it came to Thatcher’s failures, 37% said the introduction of the heavily criticised Community Charge (also known as the poll tax) followed by ‘overseeing the decline of mining and manufacturing (34%) were her most regrettable actions, while  just less than a third (31%) said privatising utilities such as BT and British Gas and 31% said selling off council housing through ‘right to buy’. 

A fifth said 'overseeing an increase in unemployment' was her greatest failure while other answers included ‘making British culture ‘selfish’ and ‘individualistic’ (17%), deregulating banking and the City of London (12%); the pound entering the ERM (8%) and introducing section 28 (6%).

Two percent (2%) answered ‘something else’ while 4% said ‘none of these’ and 18% didn’t know.

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