On Tuesday night, at a Spectator readers’ evening, Andrew Neil interviewed me about my biography of Margaret Thatcher. He asked me if, after leaving office, Lady Thatcher had come to the view that Britain should leave the European Union. I said yes (I think it happened after the Maastricht Treaty in 1992), although advisers had persuaded her that she should not say this in public since it would have allowed her opponents to drive her to the fringes of public life.
I had believed this was widely known, but according to Andrew, it is a story. My revelation, if such it was, came on the same day as Nigel Lawson’s piece in the Times (£) saying that he would now vote for Britain to leave the EU. How things have changed. Even the BBC treats Lawson’s view as respectable. In this year, the 25th anniversary of the Bruges speech, people can see much more clearly that, far from living in ‘a ghetto of sentimentality about the past’ (© Geoffrey Howe), she was thinking harder than her contemporaries about the future of Europe.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes from this week’s magazine. Click here to subscribe to the magazine and receive a free copy of the official authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher, by Charles Moore, worth £30.