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1950 Sep 5 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Erith Conservatives

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Erith, Kent
Source:Erith Observer 8 September 1950
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:Evening?
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:539
Themes:Conservative Party (organisation), Defence (general), Trade, General Elections, Housing

GENERAL ELECTION IN AUTUMN?

Opinion of Conservative Prospective Candidate

A General Election in the autumn was forecast by Miss Margaret Roberts, M.A., B.Sc., (prospective Parliamentary candidate), at a Conservative meeting at Erith on Tuesday.

The gathering saw the birth of a new branch, Erith East Conservative Mixed branch, to fill a gap in the election organisation.

Miss Roberts said she was glad to see new faces at the meeting. At the moment, people were very politically conscious after two Party political broadcasts. There would most likely be a General Election in the autumn, so that meeting was of an urgent nature.

Commenting on the [ Clement Attlee] Prime Minister's reply to Mr. Churchill, Miss Roberts said it might be true that the Conservative leader was not present at every debate. When Mr. Churchill made a speech it resounded the whole world over. That was the standard to judge by.

War Lessons

The first world war was on such a gigantic scale that it was impossible to learn all the lessons from it, but during the last war the Coalition Government made preparations to meet the peace.

It was arranged to put up pre-frabicated houses to fill the gap, sites to put them on were chosen and builders were released from the Services.

To-day, however, housing was one of the greatest domestic problems, and every week she (Miss Roberts) heard stories of suffering.

It had been claimed there was a shortage of timber, but there was no world shortage, and it was rumoured that timber was wasting in the Scandinavian docks. Canada had offered to supply timber in exchange for machinery, yet the Government chose to trade with the Soviet Union.

Miss Roberts said the duty' of the Opposition was to criticise, but when they did so [ Clement Attlee] the Prime Minister launched an attack on [ Winston Churchill] the man who led Britain during the war. They had been entitled to think Britain's armed forces were in an efficient condition—and then they learned Britain could field only a few divisions, the Air Force was only a fraction of the Soviet's, and the Navy far from what it should be. That, after £760,000,000 had been spent on defence.

Conservatives wanted peace, but when friendship was met with a slap in the face, the only solution was to be equally strong.

"We do not want to return a Conservative Government merely to oust the Socialists, but because we believe that is best for the country. It is not sufficient just to vote with us to achieve that end, but to work with us whole-heartedly," concluded Miss Roberts.

"If we do not vote Conservative this time we may not have the chance to do so again. We shall have to do what we are told, and people of my age will be bumped off," claimed Mrs. G. W. H. Eletcher, who presided.

There had never been a time when it had been more necessary for Conservatives to work for their party. With so much Communism about, it was imperative, the Conservatives should be returned.

Mr. J. F. L. Gates also spoke Members then voted to form Erith East mixed branch, and a provisional committee was selected.