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Lord Gilmour, at 81; was a thorn in Thatcher's side

LORD GILMOUR LORD GILMOUR (Associated Press/File 1999)

LONDON - Lord Gilmour, a Conservative lawmaker who was a thorn in the side of Margaret Thatcher when she served as Britain's prime minister, died Friday, his son said. He was 81.

Formerly Sir Ian Gilmour, he died in West Middlesex Hospital, west of London after a short illness, according to David Gilmour. No other details were provided.

While holding the Cabinet-level post of deputy foreign secretary, Lord Gilmour was fired by Thatcher in 1981 after he warned her hard-line tactics would lose voters' support.

He then declared Thatcher was steering "full speed ahead for the rocks," and for his next 11 years in the House of Commons he relentlessly attacked Thatcher's dismantling of the welfare state.

A graduate of Eton and Oxford's Balliol College, before his election to Parliament in 1967, he was editor and proprietor of The Spectator magazine from 1954 to 1959.

After serving in three junior ministerial positions, Lord Gilmour was named defense secretary shortly before former prime minister Edward Heath's government fell in 1974. After Thatcher's election in 1979, he returned to government as deputy foreign secretary.

He leaves four sons and a daughter.

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