Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

1950 General Election Address

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: Item listed by date of adoption meeting. MT usually published her election address shortly after adoption.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 1018
Themes: Agriculture, Autobiographical comments, Parliament, Commonwealth (general), Defence (general), Economic policy - theory and process, Employment, Industry, General Elections, Privatized & state industries, Energy, Taxation, Trade, Foreign policy - theory and process, Housing

I hope to meet you all personally meanwhile here is my policy—

THE first task that awaits the new Government is that of setting the finances of the nation in order. Few people understand all the ‘in and outs’ of economics and national finances, but all of us know only too well that something is very seriously wrong with our country's economic position. We are at present receiving help from abroad, especially from our American friends, help which amounts to £1 per week for every household. This will end in 1952 and from then on we've got to support ourselves. The Socialist Election Manifesto makes no mention of American help at all, and therefore completely fails to face the economic situation, which is the essence of our livelihood. We Conservatives are not afraid to face the future whatever problem it entails, because it is our earnest desire to make Great Britain great again.

Reduction in Taxation

This is not vote-catching, it is vital to the future output of our men and women. Why are so many people refusing to do even a small amount of overtime when it is so urgently needed? It is because the extra money they earn brings them up to a higher income-tax rate and by the time the Exchequer has taken its slice, the workman finds his overtime rate is less per hour than his normal rate. Consequently he refuses to do it, and Britain loses the production she vitally needs. That is why we propose a reduction in taxation, because we believe it would lead to greater output.


What has Nationalisation meant to the householder and industrialist? Higher prices for lower quality. To the housewife it conjures up a picture of a grate full of dust, ash and clinker that won't burn. The better coal doesn't seem to exist any more. That is the gift of Nationalisation. And yet our opponents propose to Nationalise more industries. I ask every housewife, does she want her sugar to increase in price and go down in quality?—does she want cement which goes into building a house to go up in price, thereby increasing house building costs and rent? Never forget—a vote for the Socialists is a vote for Nationalisation of sugar, cement, iron and steel and threats to other industries as well. The alternative is Private Enterprise.

Private Enterprise

Private Enterprise is producing the results. The export records we are breaking, and the goods that are at present buying our food and supplies from dollar countries, these are the work which Private Enterprise is doing NOW.

The small shopkeepers are having a very raw deal at present. Socialism has no use for the small independent man and is doing all it can to crush him. I believe firmly that such men and women are part of the strength and backbone of England, and everything must be done to help them.


A separate house for every family is our aim. We recognise this will take some time to achieve, but our complaint at present is that not all available resources have been used. If the private builders can put up houses faster than Local Authorities (and the Government's own report—the Girdwood Report—admitted they could), then we must use the private builders more. This is not the time for party prejudice, we require more houses at an economic price.

Defence & Foreign Policy

It is our duty as a nation to remain strong to defend our ideals of British liberty, and those freedoms set forth in the Charter of the United Nations. It would be unwise at this time to end the principle of national service when we have so many defence commitments on our hands.

Britain's prestige in the eyes of the world has gone down and down. I am certain that under the firm guidance that Conservatives can offer in this sphere, we can win it back. We are anxious to co-operate with all nations who are prepared to practice the democratic way of life.

British Empire

We are proud of the British Commonwealth and Empire. We believe it has a part to play in the future of the world. By its action in 1939 it saved the forces of freedom and democracy from extinction. We reaffirm the principle of Imperial Preference, believing that it will help both us and Empire peoples to solve our economic difficulties.


We believe more food can be produced here in Britain. Far more good would have been done by spending one million pounds on home food production than nearly thirty million on ground nuts in East Africa. First place in the home market must be given to the British Farmer. Food rationing will not be abolished until sufficient supplies of necessities are within reach of every family. I should like to make one special point to the housewife. If Lord Woolton could feed us as he did during the war, when many ships were sunk by U-boats, and we could get no supplies from German-dominated Europe, don't you think we should be better fed now, when our ships can sail the seas freely and Europe can trade with us once again?

Full Employment

Don't be misled by Socialist lies about Tory policy on this score. From what they say it would appear that Socialists are afraid of the future and are consequently trying to gain your votes by saying that we wish to create unemployment. Let's have this quite clear, the danger of unemployment arises not from the Tory Party, but from inability to earn enough to buy the raw materials we need, to keep our men at work. At present a considerable part of these materials is provided by American Aid and as noted above, the Socialists haven't dared to mention what will happen when this comes to an end. We have, and we accept it as the duty of any Government that it should do everything possible to maintain a high and stable level of employment.

FINALLY, I should like to send a personal message to all Electors. No Candidate can promise a Utopia just by voting this way or that. The long training I have received has taught me to shape my own opinions judging on the evidence alone. I promise to consider all matters of policy in this light, and in Parliament I should vote as my conscience and not party line dictates. I should carry out my task to the utmost of my ability, allowing myself no rest until the duties which fell to my lot were complete. Margaret H. Roberts