There was a startling late entry for the first volume of my biography of Margaret Thatcher. On the day after she died, I received an email from Haden Blatch. Mr Blatch’s father, Bertie, was the chairman of the Finchley Conservative Association when it selected her in 1958. I had asked Haden for information before, but he had not got round to it.
Now he revealed that his father had come home from the Finchley selection meeting and explained that Mrs Thatcher had not really won the vote. Her rival, Thomas Langton, had just pipped her. Blatch senior, however, was very keen on Mrs Thatcher, and thought that Langton, who ‘was born with a silver spoon in his mouth’, would easily get in somewhere else, whereas she, being a woman with young children, would not. ‘I “lost” two of Langton’s votes,’ he told his son, and he announced her victory.
If this is correct, Mrs Thatcher (unknowing) was set on her political career by a fraud. To get this story into the book, I was not allowed any more lines: I had surgically to remove 150 words, and insert 150 new ones.
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.
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.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.