October 19, 2010 / 8:11 PM / 9 years ago

Former UK PM Thatcher taken to hospital for tests

LONDON (Reuters) - Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, 85, was admitted to hospital in London on Tuesday for tests related to a recent flu illness, a government source said.

Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher looks towards the camera as she meets Prime Minister David Cameron inside 10 Downing Street in London June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

“We understand from Lady Thatcher’s office that she has been admitted to hospital for precautionary tests following her recent bout of flu,” a spokesman for the prime minister’s office in 10 Downing Street said.

He said Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who is of Thatcher’s own party, wished her “a speedy recovery.”

Known as the “Iron Lady,” Thatcher, embraced free market policies, challenged trade unions and privatized many state-owned companies during her 11 years in power, polarizing British voters.

Britain’s only woman prime minister, who led her country in a war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982, and was close to the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was forced to step down by her own party in 1990.

The BBC quoted a spokesman for Lady Thatcher as saying she was suffering from an infection, but that her condition was “not serious” and was better treated in hospital.

She is being treated at Cromwell Hospital in west London and is expected to go home in a few days, the BBC said.

Last week Thatcher did not attend a party hosted by Cameron to celebrate her birthday because she had the flu.

Thatcher suffered a series of mild strokes in late 2001 and 2002, after which she cut back on public appearances and later canceled her speaking schedule.

She was taken to hospital in June 2009 when she broke her arm in a fall at her London home.

Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; editing by Michael Roddy

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