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. In the circumstances of 1981 it was a significant post, and also one difficult to turn down without seeming to run away from responsibility. At the party conference MT paid him a warm tribute in her speech, after which he wrote her an equally warm letter of thanks. It is a credible contemporary source. 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. 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. Mr Carlisle, in his resignation letter, promised loyal support to the Conservative Party. That neatly summed her view of the politics of it all. Whether even now she commands a majority in her own Cabinet remains in doubt. 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. But in November 1981 Mrs Thatcher faced a rebellion of backbench MPs too. Published polling was surveyed by Central Office alongside their private surveys. If any Conservative is more convinced, it is probably Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne, whose appointment as Minister of State at the Treasury is one of five or six further moves to be announced. Decision made easier by Mrs Thatcher. Copyright © Margaret Thatcher Foundation 2021. 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. 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. Jim Prior, one of the few surviving Tory Cabinet "wets" purged by Margaret Thatcher, has died aged 89. At the end of March Lord Carrington wrote her an angry letter - described by MT's Principal Private Secretary as 'really very silly' - complaining that he had been let down by an Ingham briefing, contrasting this shabby treatment with his own restraint in having gone out of his way "to avoid seeing the press or of giving any indication about differences on the budget or anything else". For three or four hours, Mr Prior deliberated. Photograph by John Mannine [caption to large photo; omitted]. 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. He feels these might prove to be just the qualities that are needed to deal with Northern Ireland, let us hope so." The budget of that year was also a crucial one, long remembered with or without admiration, according to taste. And on BBC television's Newsnight Mr Tebbit, a former airline pilot, said he was "a hawk, but not a kamikaze". There are important fragments in the Cambridge files on the crucial 1981 budget, adding to the picture we get from official material at Kew. Some Ministers have pestered the Government for more public spending. . Ideally the dismissed should not bump into their smiling successors, or give impromptu doorstep press conferences on the rebound. Until her final years, Thatcher had a genius of knowing when she had the space to be assertive and when she needed to be more cautious. MT defended the budget in an improvised speech the day after (11 Mar), discarding her previously prepared text. a Margaret Thatcher cabinet reshuffle in 1981. In one of the most controversial Cabinet reshuffles of modern times, in 1981… Sir Ian Gilmour, whose outspokenness raises the question of how he felt able to remain In office for so long, said last night on BBC radio that there were still many people in the Cabinet who thought the same as he did. The files contain fascinating documents planning the moves, which were always orchestrated by a senior official despite their highly political character. And when the time came to pay the bill - they had scarpered (couldn't be found)". That is what the Government is now doing.". There is some material on the second 1981 reshuffle, which took place on Monday 14 September 1981. Mr Prior agreed to serve as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland after being dissuaded by his family and friends from leaving office. 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). <, 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 first came in the unusual month of January, giving it something of an emergency flavour. Other Cabinet members' rows are highlighted in yellow. 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. Pym was promoted, in a small way, swapping the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster for the more senior Lord Presidency of the Council, though in substance his job remained the same, Leadership of the House of Commons and coordinator of presentation. 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. 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. All Rights Reserved. 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". Boris Johnson Cabinet reshuffle: Four ministers under spotlight when PM orders shake-up BORIS JOHNSON has been tipped to reshuffle his Cabinet in … The Prime Minister promised further discussion in the autumn. It was described by some as a humiliating ‘U-turn’, however NUM vice-president Mick McGahey described it as “more a body swerve”. a Margaret Thatcher cabinet reshuffle in 1981. Mrs Thatcher having observed Sir Ian Gilmour's response to dismissal may reflect that Mr Prior on the back benches would have had an even higher nuisance value. Next page - Rebellion of the 'wets' & the SDP. 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. To hold two reshuffles in a single year was itself a symptom of party divisions. Off she went after that, though not as fast as the Coalition in terms of radical evangelism. The 1981 budget statement was one of the most contentious the British Treasury had ever submitted. Tebbit replaced Prior at Employment, Lawson joined the cabinet as Energy Secretary, Parkinson became chairman with a cabinet seat. Cabinet reshuffle in full: List of ministers sacked, backed and cracked in shake-up Boris Johnson has taken the chop to his top team with Esther McVey, Julian Smith and Andrea Leadsom among those out. The other two new members of the Cabinet, apart from Mr Tebbit, are Lady Young, who takes Lord Soames's place as Leader of the House of Lords and Minister in charge of the Civil Service, and Mr Nigel Lawson. Unavoidably perhaps he was compensated by being given a lead role in the presentation of government policy, a move strongly endorsed by the party chairman, Lord Thorneycroft, and with the backing of MT's trusted PPS, Ian Gow. It must have been an exhausting day all round. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher fired three Cabinet critics of her Conservative government's hard-line monetarist economic policies Monday. Mr Prior's wife, Jane, said last night: "Jim is obviously sad to leave his old job. MT genuined disliked causing personal pain and certainly understood that Stevas would take it badly. Alan Walters became MT's No.10 economic adviser at the beginning of Jan 1981. At a stroke, this reshaped and reinvigorated her government, despatched deadbeats and disloyal colleagues while promoting talented supporters. Lady Young, who learnt her politics in local government in Oxford in the 1960s is a deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and a trusted associate of the Prime Minister. 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. 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. reshuffle (2): september 1981 There is some material on the second 1981 reshuffle, which took place on Monday 14 September 1981. This caused Thatcher to back down and bide her time. This would be the episode whose climactic scene is . Relations became very strained around the time of the 1981 budget leading to a reshuffle in which Thatcher brought in more of her natural supporters, such as Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit and Cecil Parkinson, dismissing or marginalising some of the wets. 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. (Nott): "I was left with an overwhelming feeling that you cannot let them go on like this: the whole thrust of the government is crippled - even subverted - by your ministers parading their consciences, frustrations, hysteria, snobberies, masculinity or ambitions before an audience". ", "He is a man with great conciliatory abilities and persuasive powers as well as boundless energy and broad shoulders. Later on the radio he warned that many people still in the Cabinet shared his criticisms of policy. But like John Hoskyns, at this stage, Walters was something of a sceptic about MT. 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). Sir Ian, who had read in recent weeks enough inspired forecasts of his fate to write his resignation letter some weeks ago, said that his dismissal was perfectly natural and not unwelcome. 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. Mr James Prior animatedly telling reporters nothing at all in Downing Street. Changes include sacking of Leader of the House Norman St John-Stevas and replacement by Francis Pym. "Unfortunately I shall be away as I am taking a brief rest after these rather traumatic events in order to recover and be able to do my work" [THCR 6/2/4/17 f3]. 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. Heseltine and Tebbit were much talked of as possible replacements, so that Parkinson's appointment was a genuine surprise. She takes on the same job, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, that she held from 1972-74. 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. But in November 1981 Mrs Thatcher faced a rebellion of backbench MPs too. Thatcher battled cabinet 'wets' over Howe austerity plans National Archives releases papers detailing row over 1981-1982 spending round that ended with purge of opponents in reshuffle … Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, making a comprehensive shuffle of her Cabinet, served notice today that she is not contemplating any significant … Why? In her highly successful reshuffle of September 1981, Margaret Thatcher got rid of Lord Soames. Some 73 per cent thought the budget unfair, 22 per cent fair (previous low 33 per cent for 1961). So there are. This was my overriding consideration when the Prime Min- ister asked me to assume responsibility for Northern Ireland. Sack the lot of them !” This would be the episode whose climactic scene is . Who could she promote. term cronies of the Prime Minister. It was wrong, said W.W." And the offer of Northern Ireland was a clever one. She persuaded him that the job was vitally important and that she wanted a new man there to take, in time, a new political initiative. The centrepiece was a purge of the wets, Gilmour, Soames and Carlisle leaving the government, Prior being shifted to Northern Ireland, Thorneycroft leaving the … 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. 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. Papers released last year show him perhaps relying overmuch on that connection. 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. 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. 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. Many doubting ministers had been sacked in a September cabinet reshuffle, the so-called "purge of the Wets". When he returned and told the Prime Minister that he would accept, it must have been a relief to them both. 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. . Frightened of calls for relaxation or sops to the wets. Had he stayed at Defence, it is very unlikely Pym would have become Foreign Secretary during the Falklands War. He had been one of MT's junior ministers at Education under Heath and had felt the experience gave him some standing with her, if not exactly personal or political closeness. policies, Mr Prior, by at first defying Mrs Thatcher to move him and then deciding to fall in with her plans, must for the moment have become a diminished force. Report on the first cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher since winning the UK General Election in 05/79. In 1981 unemployment had risen to levels not seen since the 1930s and public finances foundered in their worst state since 1945. And later he notes: "She is very uncertain of herself. As it is, she has avoided a potentially disastrous gulf between the left and right wings of the party. Blair’s 2006 reshuffle. "J.P. has been taken to task by Whitelaw for being disloyal and holding a pistol to PM's head. 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