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Coffee House

How Michael Heseltine won his first showdown with Margaret Thatcher in government

22 April 2013

6:38 PM

22 April 2013

6:38 PM

The extracts in the Telegraph of Charles Moore’s biography of Margaret Thatcher have confirmed that this will be one of the most important political books of recent times.

One of the intriguing things about Thatcher’s premiership is how, for the early years of it, she had to deal with a Cabinet that was not convinced of her policy prescription. This meant that, contrary to the latter image, she could not simply proceed as she wished. (Though, it should be noted that events vindicated Thatcher’s judgment.)

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Charles Moore reveals in his book that in 1979 Michael Heseltine flatly refused the job of energy secretary. He reports that when Thatcher offered it to him, he replied ‘“No… I’ve been rehearsing environment for three years. That’s what I want to do.” Faced with this demand, Thatcher acquiesced.

PS: If you subscribe to The Spectator for three months at a price of £27.50, you receive a free copy of the Thatcher biography which will sell for £30 when it comes out.


Join us for ‘An Evening with Charles Moore‘  on 7 May, where Andrew Neil will discuss the life of Baroness Thatcher with her official biographer, sharing his unique insights into this towering political figure of our times. Click here to book tickets.

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