British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, already the West’s longest-serving leader after nearly a decade in power, says she will seek an unprecedented fourth term, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The 63-year-old Conservative chief of state said she plans to lead her party into the next election and remain prime minister for another five-year term if it wins, according to an interview in the Times of London. The election must be held by 1992.
The Conservatives named Thatcher prime minister in May, 1979, after they defeated a Labor Party government. As an ideological partner of President Reagan, she has championed individual initiative and hands-off government.
“Some time, there will come along a person who can do it better than I can,” the newspaper quoted her as saying. “And I’m always on the lookout. But I expect myself to do it for the fourth term.”
Asked if she had a date in mind to retire, she was quoted as saying, “No, but obviously one isn’t indestructible.”
In the same interview, Thatcher defended her government’s week-old ban on interviews with members of the Irish Republican Army by domestic broadcasters. She said she may even extend the order to foreign-based networks.
“To beat off your enemy in a war, you have to suspend some of your civil liberties for a time,” she said.
The new rules prohibit domestic broadcasters from interviewing members of the outlawed IRA and 10 other militant groups in Northern Ireland.