The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher’s colleagues give their verdicts

Those who worked with the former Prime Minister give their opinions on the new film and Meryl Streep's performance


Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, a film about the life of Margaret Thatcher, is released today in cinemas nationwide.


The film has received mixed reviews from critics, but what do the politicians who knew and worked with the real Iron Lady think of it and Meryl Streep’s performance as Thatcher?

Here’s a sample of the reactions from the corridors of power:

Lord Heseltine, who served as environment minister and secretary of state for defence under Thatcher before he resigned from Cabinet in 1986, said: 

“As a historical event, no one who made the film has talked to me and I therefore work on the assumption that it won’t be accurate.”

He added:

“I think Mrs Thatcher was a formidable prime minister and to produce a film in her later stages of life depicting the problems of advanced old age, I find extremely distasteful.”

Lord Lawson, who served as Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor, said:

the film is “not within a million miles” of accuracy…

He added:

“Meryl Streep is a very fine actress and has got Margaret’s personality right. I’ve no doubt she will win an Oscar and good luck to her.”

Norman Tebbit, former Conservative Party chairman, described Meryl Streep’s performance as:

“half-hysterical, over-emotional over-acting.”

Edwina Currie, Thatcher’s junior health minister, said that the focus of the film on Thatcher’s frail health was at times:

“insensitive and irrelevant.”

However, she credited Streep’s performance for:

“capturing the essence of Margaret’s personality, right down to the curl of her lip…. a worthy tribute.”

Virginia Bottomley, who worked in Thatcher’s health ministry, said:

“[Streep] was incredibly sympathetic, and I was so touched that I was reduced to tears.

“This film successfully portrays that human side.”

Lord Bell, key PR adviser to Thatcher, described the film as:


He added:


“Its only value is to make some money for Meryl Streep and whoever wrote it.”