Facts and Events
As President of the Selsdon Group, a free-market lobby within the Conservative Party, he was closely aligned with Margaret Thatcher, and became one of her Ministers of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1979. Responsible for the Falkland Islands, he tried to resolve the long-running sovereignty issue with Argentina, who detected Britain’s reluctance to defend the territory, and later invaded it.
As Secretary of State for Transport, Ridley performed a key function in building-up coal stocks in advance of the UK miners' strike (1984–1985), which helped the government to defeat the union. As Secretary of State for the Environment, Ridley opposed a low-cost housing development near his own property, earning him the title of NIMBY (‘Not In My Back Yard’). He was also responsible for introducing the Community Charge (also known as the 'Poll Tax'), which was one of the main factors leading to Thatcher's resignation in 1990. He was created a life peer in 1992.