thatcher cabinet reshuffle 1981

Mr Patrick Jenkin, whom Mr Fowler replaces, becomes Secretary of State for Industry. All were adamant that it was his duty to serve in Northern Ireland, and that he would not forgive himself if he failed to accept the challenge. Later in the month, he declined an invitation to meet her when she visited Cambridge, a sad little letter carefully brought to her notice. Blair’s 2006 reshuffle. “You have to promote on merit,” Margaret Thatcher told the BBC’s Jenni Murray during an interview for Woman’s Hour in 1993, after she was challenged on the lack of women in her cabinet. Mr Prior agreed to serve as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland after being dissuaded by his family and friends from leaving office. Report on the first cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher since winning the UK General Election in 05/79. A very full file on the mechanics of the Cabinet reshuffle of September 1985. Of the four new Ministers, two, Mr William Shelton, who becomes Under-Secretary at Education, and Mr Iain Sproat, Under-Secretary at Trade, were described yesterday as long. Their most prominent leader, Jim Prior, who was threatening to resign if he was moved from the Department of Employment, capitulated and was moved to the more onerous task of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Gamble, 1981). Some 73 per cent thought the budget unfair, 22 per cent fair (previous low 33 per cent for 1961). Within three hours of his departure, Mrs Thatcher … We are releasing this year a planning note for the reshuffle by MT's Principal Private Secretary, Clive Whitmore, which sketches two scenarios, turning on the question of whether Pym would be moved or not - presumably the most difficult question. The very first entry, describing his first meeting with MT in the job, begins: "What should she do about Geoffrey. He was replaced by Leon Brittan, a very able lawyer and protégé of Willie Whitelaw from the Home Office. But if there was any prospect of a gradual move this autumn towards reflationary policies, that prospect - in the view of those who would like this - has been pushed back for several months at least by the Prime Minister's firm self-assertion. reshuffle (2): september 1981 There is some material on the second 1981 reshuffle, which took place on Monday 14 September 1981. "He does not regard it as promotion or demotion. 1981 – July 23: Thatcher confronted in a Cabinet meeting by a major rebellion by ‘wets’ opposed to her economic policies, led by Michael Heseltine. Writing with some satisfaction to her Scottish friends, the Laings, three days later, MT said: "As you know, I have had a busy and difficult time since then. Later, on 23 Feb, Walters recounts her warning Howe "that he must get the PSBR down or 'you are for the chop'". In truth she seems to have been confident he would take it. They include a brief daily diary, in a week-to-a page A4 format volume, which appears to have been written reasonably close to events, sometimes daily, sometimes after a longer gap. Keith Joseph moved from Industry to Education. “That’s right, Mrs. Thatcher, sack them. Mr Lawson, as a member of the Treasury team since May, 1979, has been regarded as the most convinced monetarist in the Government. At this stage they contented themselves with briefing the press about cabinet divisions, a fact reported to MT by Bernard Ingham ("Some very clear briefing is being given"; six cabinet ministers said to be opposed, but only three actually spoke against in cabinet). There is some material on the second 1981 reshuffle, which took place on Monday 14 September 1981. Mr Prior's wife, Jane, said last night: "Jim is obviously sad to leave his old job. Although the latter had emerged as a critic of economic policy, it seems likely he was expecting to leave anyway - at 72, he had been chairman for six years, and any successor would need to be in place well before the next election, due in 1983/84. Thorneycroft's admission that he was suffering from "rising damp" came shortly after that (11 Feb). John Biffen was moved to Trade from the Chief Secretaryship (where his semi-public criticism of economic policy had cost him the confidence of the Chancellor, as shown by papers released here last year). She pulled back at the eleventh hour from some of the middle-order changes - e.g., not sacking Sally Oppenheim, leaving the Welsh Office team in place - but otherwise everything went as intended. a Margaret Thatcher cabinet reshuffle in 1981. It is a credible contemporary source. They headlined a Gallup poll for the Daily Telegraph, published 19 March, which showed the budget to be the most unpopular for 30 years. . In her highly successful reshuffle of September 1981, Margaret Thatcher got rid of Lord Soames. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, making a comprehensive shuffle of her Cabinet, served notice today that she is not contemplating any significant … Predictably perhaps Ian Gilmour spoke out publicly against his dismissal, in Downing Street itself where he commented memorably: "It does no harm to throw the occasional man overboard, but it does not do much good if you are steering full speed ahead for the rocks. Lord Soames, former Lord President of the Council, after an exceptionally long, varied, and distinguished political career, resigned at Mrs Margaret Thatcher's request, and so did Mr Mark Carlisle, Secretary of State for Education and Science, who goes to the back benches. Walters told MT of the seminar at which the Swiss economist, Jurg Niehans, argued that British monetary policy was too tight and that £M3 was the wrong monetary aggregate to target, "MT very defensive: NO ONE must know about it - especially Bank of England. That is what the Government is now doing.". Ideally the dismissed should not bump into their smiling successors, or give impromptu doorstep press conferences on the rebound. The 'no hope' budget delivered by Chancellor Geoffrey Howe in March marked the beginning of a six-month period which witnessed pressures in Northern Ireland, hunger strikes, urban riots and unprecedented unrest within the Conservative Party. Soames was said to have complained to friends … That is what the Government is now doing." On 18 Aug MT received some striking advice on this question from Charles Douglas-Home (then foreign editor of The Times), reporting private chats with Whitelaw, Prior, Pym, "J.N." Yet this high-level soap so smoothly builds each climactic moment that even a less emotionally attached viewer will find that this season is one success after another. Norman St John-Stevas was dropped altogether, to be replaced by Francis Pym, John Nott succeeding him at Defence. His papers are now at Churchill and are being released in tandem with the Thatcher papers. <, Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone: Lord Chancellor, Lord Carrington: Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Sir Geoffrey Howe: Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Keith Joseph: Secretary of State for Education and Science, Mr Francis Pym: Lord President of the Council, Leader of the Commons, Mr James Prior: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr John Nott: Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Peter Walker: Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Michael Heseltine: Secretary of State for the Environment, Mr George Younger: Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Nicholas Edwards: Secretary of State for Wales, Mr Patrick Jenkin: Secretary of State for Industry, Mr John Biffen: Secretary of State for Trade, Mr David Howell: Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Norman Fowler: Secretary of State for Social Services, Mr Leon Brittan: Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Lady Young: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Leader of the House of Lords, Mr Nigel Lawson: Secretary of State for Energy, Mr Norman Tebbit: Secretary of State for Employment, Mr Cecil Parkinson: Paymaster General and Chairman of the Conservative Party (will attend Cabinet meetings). The promotions that caught the eye of Conservative MPs last night were those of Mr Nigel Lawson and Mr Norman Tebbit, two of the three backbench MPs who were particularly close to Mrs Thatcher in her early days as leader of the party in opposition. Unlike Lord Thorneycroft, Mr Parkinson, as a senior Minister, will attend all Cabinet meetings and receive all Cabinet papers, without formally being a member of the Cabinet. Pym also got in on the act, "rather deftly" briefing the lobby in favour of an annual pre-budget cabinet discussion of economic policy, also carefully noted by Ingham. Did not want to discuss budget" (22 Feb), "I tell Paddie [his wife] we must be ready to go". [i.e., since her visit to the Laings' home in Dunphail & to HMQ at Balmoral, 4-6 Spt] I hate "doing" reshuffles but alas they have to be done. But in November 1981 Mrs Thatcher faced a rebellion of backbench MPs too. . When he returned and told the Prime Minister that he would accept, it must have been a relief to them both. Mr Francis Pym, who remains Leader of the House of Commons, is given the new and more senior title of Lord President of the Council. . "Every prime minister has to reshuffle from time to time. MT defended the budget in an improvised speech the day after (11 Mar), discarding her previously prepared text. Jim Prior, one of the few surviving Tory Cabinet "wets" purged by Margaret Thatcher, has died aged 89. Indeed, the blow to pride would have made it very hard to accept. It does no harm to throw the occasional man overboard, but it does not do much good if you are steering full speed ahead for the rocks. Mrs Thatcher made the decision easier for him by offering him, from the outset, the retention of his seat on the Cabinet's main economic committee, the E Committee, something that Mr Atkins did not have. Concessions on fuel were announced during the Finance Bill. The budget of that year was also a crucial one, long remembered with or without admiration, according to taste. This was my overriding consideration when the Prime Min- ister asked me to assume responsibility for Northern Ireland. Alan Walters became MT's No.10 economic adviser at the beginning of Jan 1981. He has caught Mrs Thatcher's eye as an active Minister of State at the Department of Trade, and replaces Lord Thorneycroft, aged 72, who wrote to the Prime Minister last month urging her to appoint a younger man. ", "After such a long stint in one area of policy it is obviously a wrench to leave it, but this is a new challenge and I am delighted to have such a strong and experienced ministerial team with me.". The fact that he has the Prime Minister's total confidence, which his predecessor never enjoyed, ensures that his promotion will be loudly criticized by trade union general secretaries. The 1981 budget statement was one of the most contentious the British Treasury had ever submitted. Mr Norman Tebbit will be the man to introduce a further Bill, in the next session of Parliament, to curb the powers of the trade unions, and as such will be closely watched. Former Thatcher minister Lord Prior who was sidelined by Iron Lady in brutal 1981 ‘wets’ reshuffle dies Jim Prior was moved to Northern Ireland Secretary from … It was wrong, said W.W." And the offer of Northern Ireland was a clever one. (Douglas-Home was on good terms with MT: when she went to see Anyone for Denis in May - more on which below - she asked that he be seated in the same row.) Mr Carlisle, in his resignation letter, promised loyal support to the Conservative Party. His place at the Treasury is taken by Mr Nicholas Ridley who, like Mr Lawson, is a convinced monetarist. That MT was even thinking in terms of possibly removing the Chancellor - that her relationship with him had soured to this degree, that early - is a shock. Copyright © Margaret Thatcher Foundation 2021. Some Ministers have pestered the Government for more public spending. By far the most unpopular feature was the increase in petrol duty, of which a cool 87 per cent disapproved (10 per cent in favour). And on BBC television's Newsnight Mr Tebbit, a former airline pilot, said he was "a hawk, but not a kamikaze". It must have been an exhausting day all round. Changes include sacking of Leader of the House Norman St John-Stevas and replacement by Francis Pym. A clash between the Church of England and Downing Street over proposals to exclude the Prime Minister from the unveiling of the Falklands Memorial in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was described by some as a humiliating ‘U-turn’, however NUM vice-president Mick McGahey described it as “more a body swerve”. She takes on the same job, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, that she held from 1972-74. MT genuined disliked causing personal pain and certainly understood that Stevas would take it badly. And when the time came to pay the bill - they had scarpered (couldn't be found)". He urged particularly that Pym be moved from leadership of the House of Commons, "very important". This caused Thatcher to back down and bide her time. Lord Gowrie, his Minister of State at the Department of Employment, goes with him; and Mr Nicholas Scott, a Liberal Conservative, who held junior office at the Department of Employment briefly in 1974, also goes to the Northern Ireland Office as Under-Secretary of State. Later on the radio he warned that many people still in the Cabinet shared his criticisms of policy. Mr Parkinson is the one complete surprise. He feels these might prove to be just the qualities that are needed to deal with Northern Ireland, let us hope so." A reshuffle to end the dissent and bring in fresh faces. In 1981 Margaret Thatcher purged her cabinet of the so-called “wets” who objected to her plans to cut public spending. But he is anxious to do what is best for the country and after Employment he sees Northern Ireland as an immense challenge. But she has found room in it for three totally loyal colleagues, each of them in their way strong politicians, with a fourth devotee as party chairman. In 1981 when her government announced that 23 pits were to close it resulted in a national strike threat by the miners and several unofficial stoppages. In 1981 unemployment had risen to levels not seen since the 1930s and public finances foundered in their worst state since 1945. ", "He is a man with great conciliatory abilities and persuasive powers as well as boundless energy and broad shoulders. Frightened of calls for relaxation or sops to the wets. Mr Humphrey Atkins moves from the Northern Ireland Office to take Sir Ian Gilmour's post of Lord Privy Seal, the number two position at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Next page - Rebellion of the 'wets' & the SDP. The first came in the unusual month of January, giving it something of an emergency flavour. . His predecessor there, Sir Keith Joseph, becomes Secretary of State for Education and Science. MT's notes on the batting order include a reference to the hunger strikes. Had he stayed at Defence, it is very unlikely Pym would have become Foreign Secretary during the Falklands War. The letter 'E' at the top of the "Batting Order" probably refers to a concession she made to Prior, that in going to Northern Ireland he could stay on the cabinet's Economic Strategy committee, which was known as E Committee. And later he notes: "She is very uncertain of herself. The Whitmore notes suggest that if Pym hadn't been moved, Nott would have stayed put and Biffen would have become leader of the House of Commons, a job he occupied later. The main drama of yesterday's calls at Downing Street concerned Mr James Prior. The centrepiece was a purge of the wets, Gilmour, Soames and Carlisle leaving the government, Prior being shifted to Northern Ireland, Thorneycroft leaving the party chairmanship. For three or four hours, Mr Prior deliberated. Mr Lawson, former Financial Secretary to the Treasury, becomes Secretary of State for Energy. In the circumstances of 1981 it was a significant post, and also one difficult to turn down without seeming to run away from responsibility. But like John Hoskyns, at this stage, Walters was something of a sceptic about MT. Many doubting ministers had been sacked in a September cabinet reshuffle, the so-called "purge of the Wets". January 1981 A reshuffle sees a doubling of the number of Jews in the Cabinet. The January 1981 Cabinet reshuffle was Thatcher’s only attempt at putting one of her inner circle in a position to try and exert control over the MOD. In one of the most controversial Cabinet reshuffles of modern times, in 1981… Only 24 per cent thought Howe was going a good job, well below the previous low, achieved by Selwyn Lloyd in 1961, the year before his removal in the "Night of the Long Knives". A significant number of Cabinet ministers expressed their disagreement. Later some of the wets kicked themselves for not having resigned over the budget, Gilmour particularly. Why? Mrs Peggy Fenner, MP for Rochester and Chatham, is brought into the Administration for the first time having, like Mr Nicholas Scott, last held office under Mr Edward Heath. It was difficult to see the move as any other than a demotion for Pym, who stood well at that time in the Parliamentary Party. And in 1981, Margaret Thatcher purged her Cabinet of the dissenting “wets” and elevated like-minded allies such as Norman Tebbit. The Prime Minister promised further discussion in the autumn. In what must be her last big effort to build a Cabinet in tune with her economic thinking, the Prime Minister yesterday dropped three Cabinet ministers, including the hostile Sir Ian Gilmour, Lord Privy Seal, and promoted several ministers and back-benchers on whose support she has relied since becoming party leader in 1975. Mr Norman Tebbit was promoted to the sensitive post of Secretary of State for Employ- ment, which Mr James Prior was so reluctant to leave. In his heart I think Jim really rather wanted to try the Northern Ireland task and like a true patriot he has risen to the occasion and I understand has received a very warm welcome". There are signs that he read through the diary from time to time and made additions to existing entries, but there is no attempt at concealing that these are later thoughts - he uses different pens. This proved a dangerously prominent position for a potential critic to occupy and, predictably enough, he quickly began to drift off-message from MT's point of view: within weeks she picked up on a phrase in a speech of his in Putney (1 Feb), contrasting the buoyant atmosphere in Washington at the time of Reagan's inauguration with the "different, diffident mood" in Britain. The centrepiece was a purge of the wets, Gilmour, Soames and Carlisle leaving the government, Prior being shifted to Northern Ireland, Thorneycroft leaving the … a Margaret Thatcher cabinet reshuffle in 1981. Photograph by John Mannine [caption to large photo; omitted]. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher fired three Cabinet critics of her Conservative government's hard-line monetarist economic policies Monday. No one" (6 Jan). Boris Johnson Cabinet reshuffle: Four ministers under spotlight when PM orders shake-up BORIS JOHNSON has been tipped to reshuffle his Cabinet in … Prior was plainly treated with special care: she gave him time to consult colleagues and family before making a final decision; in all they met three times during the day, including an evening drink. Among other changes, Mr David Howell is moved from Energy to be Secretary of State for Transport, a downward move although not so represented, and Mr Norman Fowler moves up from Transport to be Secretary of State for Health and Social Security. On the other hand, he advised against a big reshuffle, urging that she face down ministers in one-to-one meetings, a series of summonses to the headmistress's office, an improbable tactic that worked none too well when tried on a later occasion. Sir Ian Gilmour published a blistering statement, saying he had been dismissed because he disagreed with the Government's economic policy, and making plain his intention to campaign in the party and the country for a change of course. A note on 16 Jul by Derek Howe, MT's Political Secretary, shows that backbenchers had anticipated - and were hoping for - changes very much on the lines finally carried out, though Whitelaw was also a target of their criticism. At some point later she wrote the following on the first page of the old draft: "Departed from the text in as much as I said something to the following effect. Norman St John-Stevas was deeply hurt by his dismissal, as his obituaries the week of this release reminded us. At a stroke, this reshaped and reinvigorated her government, despatched deadbeats and disloyal colleagues while promoting talented supporters. The image below comes from the September 1981 reshuffle, headed by MT "Batting order", a rare but apt use of a cricketing analogy on her part: note the tight timings, which mattered a good deal, because it proved surprisingly difficult to manage the simple business of getting people in and out the famous front door at No.10 with minimum risk of, or opportunity for, embarrassment. Unemployment had risen to levels not seen since the 1930s and public foundered. Are being released in tandem with the Thatcher papers as the Coalition in terms of evangelism... J.P. has been taken to task by Whitelaw for being disloyal and a! In the unusual month of January, giving it something of a sceptic about MT with. 'S resignation forced a Cabinet reshuffle only four months after the Prime Minister that he was suffering ``! Do about Geoffrey after ( 11 Feb ) her own Cabinet remains in doubt 14 September 1981 a. 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