Thatcher minister's resignation note like a love letter

Thatcher minister's resignation note like a love letter

A newly released resignation note by Margaret Thatcher's Defence Secretary John Nott reads more like a love letter in which he gushes about the former British Prime Minister's looks and charm.

John, who led Britain's forces in the 1982 Falklands War, expressed his admiration for Thatcher effusively when he stood down from the Cabinet in January 1983.
In a private note, John said he could not acknowledge the true nature of his friendship with Thatcher in his public resignation letter.

He wrote: "Your greatest triumph as a PM, if I may say so, is that your colleagues actually like you. Some of them even love you, just a little!  In the letter, Sir John went on to laud Baroness Thatcher's femininity as the source of both her allure for her male colleagues and her success in politics."

"It is inexcusable to say so nowadays but I actually admire you as a woman – your good looks, charm and bearing have always attracted me, as a man," he told her.

The note goes on: "I'm sorry, but what is wrong with that! I think your emotional, instinctive and unpragmatic approach to most issues – so very unmasculine – is the secret of your success in the male-dominated world of politics.

"Today there is no way that a methodical, rational and consensus approach to the nation's problems can overcome them. Until you gained the leadership we were a 'whips party'; I am glad that we are now a 'gut instincts' party."

The letter has emerged as part of previously secret personal papers of Thatcher made public here today, with no comments or reply by the late Prime Minister.
The former defence secretary signed off the note with "Love – John".

He had offered to resign over the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands after facing criticism for cuts to the Royal Navy in the 1981 Defence White Paper, but Thatcher refused to accept it and he played a high-profile role in the war to retake the territory.

Among the personal documents also include papers that appear to confirm that Thatcher was grooming Lord Parkinson as her successor before his 12-year affair with his secretary, who had become pregnant, became known.

In an undated handwritten note listing her plans for the upcoming reshuffle, which seems to have been drawn up just before the general election in 1983, she wrote: "F.S.C.P. (foreign secretary Cecil Parkinson)".

Lord Parkinson had served as Conservative Party chairman and paymaster general, playing a pivotal role in the Tories' landslide victory in 1983.

Scrapping plans to appoint him foreign secretary, Baroness Thatcher instead gave him the less prestigious post of trade and industry secretary, which he held until he was forced to resign four months later when the scandal broke on the eve of the Conservative Party conference.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
GET IT
Comments (+)