Hours after Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced her resignation, she tore into the opposition in Parliament and gave them a taste of what they have lost.

"I'm enjoying this! I'm enjoying this!" she shouted during one interruption by opposition Labor Party members.And so, it seemed, were the lawmakers who packed the seats and spilled into the aisles and stairways of the House of Commons.

"You can wipe the floor with those people!" Tory colleague Toby Jessel shouted in encouragement.

Conservative lawmakers, including those who voted against her in the party's leadership battle, were on their feet and waving their agenda papers as Thatcher came in for her regular Thursday session answering questions.

Her opponents, at first, paid tribute to a valiant adversary, defeated but clearly unbowed.

Though she will still be answering prime minister's questions at least until Tuesday, this was clearly a last hurrah.

Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown rose to tell the house, "No one can doubt . . . her courage, conviction and the determination that she has brought to her premiership."

"She amounts to more than those who have turned upon her in recent days," said Neil Kinnock, who had traded innumerable insults with her in his eight years as leader of the opposition Labor Party.

But when the house began debating a motion of no confidence submitted by Kinnock, the gloves came off.

"The government is riddled with distrust, just as the Conservative Party is racked with disagreement, which cannot be healed under any leader at any time," said Kinnock.

"In the present circumstances there really isn't much of a government in which to have no confidence."

"Windy rhetoric," Thatcher replied, and several hours later the governing Conservatives easily defeated Kinnock's motion.

Thatcher's attack was often severe, but there were frequent moments of laughter.

Any mirth was lost, however, on Bernard Ingham, the prime minister's glowering press secretary, who moped in the gallery, head in hands.

Thatcher said the Conservatives had "rescued Britain from the parlous state to which socialism had brought it," 11 years ago.

"Once again Britain stands tall in the councils of Europe and of the world," she said. "We have given back control to people over their own lives and over their livelihood."

Aside from a brief coughing spell, her voice did not waver until she spoke of Britain's strong response to the Persian Gulf crisis.

"When good has to be upheld, when evil has to be overcome, then Britain will take up arms," she said. "It is because we on this side (the Conservatives) have never flinched from difficult decisions that this house and this country can have confidence in this government today."