Secret files expose whiskey-loving Thatcher

Secret files expose whiskey-loving Thatcher


They reveal that Thatcher refused a guard of 20 “karate ladies” when she visited Japan soon after becoming prime minister in 1979, and personally handled pistols to decide which model was best for police in Northern Ireland.

Her impatience for the failure of ministers and civil servants was less formidable than herself and is shown in a volley of curt, scrawled annotations on documents.
Perhaps the most unusual story in the files relates to her attendance at the Tokyo Economic Summit in June 1979, the month after she was elected Britain’s first female premier. Officials heard of Japanese plans to lay on 20 “karate ladies” to provide her security at the event, but Thatcher insisted she did not want them.

“The premier would like to be treated in exactly the same way as the other visiting Heads of Delegation; it is not the degree of protection that is in question but the particular means of carrying it out,” an official communique from the Foreign Office said.

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