Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech at adoption meeting

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Electricity House, Erith, Kent
Source: Erith Observer, 4 March 1949
Editorial comments: Evening?
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 904
Themes: Agriculture, Commonwealth (general), Conservatism, Conservative Party (organization), Economic policy - theory and process, Industry, Taxation, Trade, Labour Party & socialism


Candidate Adopted

One Member Voted Against

Anonymous Supporter Doubles Collection

Only one member raised his hand in opposition when Dartford Divisional Conservative Association adopted Miss Margaret Roberts, B.A., B.Sc., as prospective Parliamentary candidate at Electricity House, Erith, on Monday.

In her address, Miss Roberts attacked the Government's approach to the economic situation, and put forward several alternative policies to guide Britain along the road to recovery. She stressed that Imperial Preference was still the cornerstone of Conservatism.

A collection was taken and the 400 who crowded the hall contributed £37 13s. towards election expenses. This was doubled by an anonymous supporter of the association who does not live in the Division.

Mr. A. Morris Wheeler (president) was in the chair, and on the platform were Mr. J. L. M. Miller (Divisional chairman), Miss Mary Hamilton (Divisional chairman, Young Conservatives), Mrs. D. M. Fletcher (women's Divisional chairman), Mr. Hugh Goff, Mr. E. Tranter (Central Office, S.E. area), Miss Roberts and her father.

Sincere in her Faith

An explanation of the process by which the selection was made was given by Mr. J. L. M. Miller, who said four prominent local business men had been approached previously and had declined. He had first met Miss Roberts at the Conservative Conference and soon realised she would make a suitable candidate.

He said Miss Roberts was sincere about her faith and was brilliant. She was blessed with the gift of eloquence: he wished her success, and pledged the support of the association.

Recovery Road

Miss Roberts began by asking what benefits ordinary people had received after 3½ years of Socialism. The Government should do what any good housewife would do if money was short—look at their accounts and see what was wrong.

They should investigate how they could produce things more cheaply and buy food and raw materials more economically. Certain extravagant articles should most certainly not be purchased at all.

Bulk-buying was responsible for many of the present food shortages and high prices, she said. When the Government first instituted the system during the war they believed it would be cheaper, but unfortunately theory and practice were not the same.

Although industrialists were attempting to find ways of reducing production costs and thus lower the price of goods, the greatest item on accounts was always raw material. Bulk buying of raw material had pushed prices up and Britain was paying more than other nations.

What incentive was there for the working-man to produce more, Miss Roberts asked? If he put in a few hours overtime he only saw a few shillings of his extra money, the rest went in taxes to pay for the Government's mistakes.

Tax Relief

If there was some tax relief she believed production figures would rise and in the end prices would fall. Industrialists should also have the burden of heavy taxes lightened, and then they could put money back into their business and modernise machinery.

If Socialists continued with their disastrous policy, unemployment and other evils would result and the working people would suffer.

Britain under Conservatism would stand with the Empire, and she called on members not to be ashamed that they belonged to such a great family.

When Britain was faced with the armed might of Germany, it was members of the Empire who came across the world to fight for the Mother Country. Now Britain should stand beside her Dominions and Colonies to fight the economic war and follow the road to recovery together.

Several members of the audience paid tribute to Miss Roberts for her address and assured her of their support.


The proposal that Miss Roberts be adopted was moved by Mr. J. L. M. Miller and seconded by Mrs. D. M. Fletcher. The motion was supported by Mr. J. F. L. Gates (Erith), Mr. A. Garrett (Erith), Mrs. A. Jenns (Dartford), Mr. R. Porter (Dartford) and Mr. J. W. Panton.

When the vote was taken only one of the 400 present raised his hand against Miss Roberts' adoption. As she returned to the hall cheering and clapping greeted her.

A bouquet of carnations was presented to the candidate by Miss M. Hamilton, who said the Young Conservatives were “terribly bucked” that a young person had been selected.

Replying, Miss Roberts said nowhere could she find such kindhearted people as in that Division. She thanked members for the way in which they had received her. She would commence her activities shortly, and hoped to hold meetings at local factories and, if necessary, open-air meetings.

Speakers included Alderman Roberts, a former Mayor of Grantham, who said by tradition his family were Liberal, but the Conservative Party to-day stood for very much the same things as the Liberal Party did in his young days.

Miss Margaret Roberts is the youngest Conservative woman candidate in the country.