Britain: Coptergate, A crisis tests Thatcher's iron

A crisis tests Thatcher's iron

The chinks in the Iron Lady's political armor were growing wider each day. What began last fall as a relatively minor issue, the fate of an ailing British helicopter manufacturer, had ballooned into one of the severest tests for Margaret Thatcher in her nearly seven years as Prime Minister. The controversy has already prompted the angry resignation of Defense Minister Michael Heseltine and threatened to force the ouster of Trade and Industry Minister Leon Brittan. In the House of Commons last week, amid charges of high-level deceit and manipulation, Thatcher's critics turned the debate into a full-scale assault on her whole...

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