News24

Thatcher 'fine' after fall

2009-06-13 12:26

London - Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was in "good spirits" in hospital after breaking her arm in a fall, the 83-year-old's son said on Saturday.

The frail former "Iron Lady", who has suffered from dementia for a number of years, tripped at her London home on Friday and was taken to hospital, where she was kept in overnight.

"She had a very good night. Nice and relaxed and slept well," Mark Thatcher said outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in west London, following a brief visit.

"It's just a question of time to let these things heal and go from there really."

Asked how her arm was, he said: "It's too early to tell but she seems to be in very good spirits.

"She's fine. She's still slightly got some medications going on but she's in very good form. Recovering well."

Asked when his mother was likely to leave hospital, he said: "That's a matter for the clinicians and they'll make those decisions as and when appropriate."

On Friday a spokesperson for the former premier - who only this week celebrated the 30th anniversary of her taking office in Downing Street - said she was being kept in hospital overnight as a precaution.

"She tripped over at home this morning and has broken a bone in her upper arm. The hospital's decided, just to be sure, to keep her in for observation," she said.

The break was a "simple fracture" but had proved a "shock to the system", the spokesperson added.

Baroness Thatcher, dubbed the Iron Lady for her uncompromising style of political leadership, was Britain's first and so far only female premier and headed a Conservative government between 1979 and 1990.

She gave up public speaking in 2002 on the advice of her doctors after a series of small strokes, although she still attends public engagements, notably for the Conservative Party which she led.

Earlier this week she took part in an event at the Carlton Club in central London to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her May 1979 general election win, which launched 18 years of Conservative government.

Thatcher, a Methodist, had an informal exchange with Pope Benedict XVI after she attended his weekly general audience at the Vatican City on May 27. The pair shook hands and had a brief conversation.

Friday's incident is only the latest scare for Thatcher, who has looked increasingly frail in recent times.

Her daughter Carol last year told how her mother's dementia has left her struggling to remember simple facts.