An embarrassed Margaret Thatcher hurriedly repaid thousands of pounds of public cash used to save her playboy son from the Sahara desert, declassified files have revealed.
The penny-pinching former prime minister was busy wrecking the economy in January 1982 when her only son Mark disappeared while taking part in the Paris to Dakar rally.
Mr Thatcher and his French co-driver were found by the Algerian military after a six-day search.
The Algerian government footed the majority of the bill, but Britain was originally set to stump up £1,190.95 with Ms Thatcher contributing just £583.14.
But the "Iron Lady" scribbled a cheque to cover for her son's racy lifestyle to head off a feared taxpayer rebellion.
Months later Ms Thatcher had to cough up for one final bill of £15.16 - for landing charges incurred by aircraft carrying her husband and son.
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