Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

1951 General Election Address

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: Item listed by date of adoption meeting; MT’s election address was usually published shortly after her adoption.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 742
Themes: Commonwealth (general), Defence (general), Employment, Industry, General Elections, Monetary policy, Privatized & state industries, Energy, Trade, Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Housing, Trade unions

On October the 25th you will have the right to choose a new House of Commons. As the Conservative Candidate for the Dartford Constituency this is the policy which I support.

Peace Through Strength

Every Conservative desires peace. The threat to peace comes from Communism, which has powerful forces ready to attack anywhere. Communism waits for weakness, it leaves strength alone. Britain therefore must be strong, strong in arms, and strong in faith in her own way of life. The greatest hope for peace lies in friendship and co-operation with the United States of America. Conservative Policy is to set up an organisation similar to the wartime Combined Chiefs of Staff. Defence experts could then review the claims of one area against those of another.

British assets in Persia have been thrown away by the weakness of the Socialist Government. Our prestige in the Middle East could not be lower. Conservatives will guard the interests of Britain and liberty everywhere.

Commonwealth & Empire

Conservatives believe in the future of the British Commonwealth and Empire. We shall aim at trading as much as possible within the Empire. We uphold the right to grant and receive preferences for Empire goods. We need more raw materials to maintain full employment and the Colonies are valuable sources of these. A Conservative Government will call an Empire Economic Conference of representatives from the Dominions and Colonies so that we can work out a trading policy together. Further, we shall establish a Commonwealth Defence Council so that we may act in harmony with one another in matters of World Defence.

Cost of Living

There is no single solution that will rapidly reduce the cost of living. The programme of the new Government will be judged according to its effect on rising prices. After six years of Socialism £1 is worth only 14/9. Conservatives will follow a sound financial policy and will spend public money wisely. This will help to make the pound worth more at home and abroad. Harder work and greater production are the real remedies for the high cost of living. A Conservative Government will help by reducing taxes on profits ploughed back into industry. This should enable our industries to expand, and machinery and equipment to be kept up-to-date.

Employment & Industry

There is no truth in the Socialist scare that the Tories want unemployment. The nation must have prosperous industries, and must export sufficient goods to live. Times of high prosperity [end p1] are times of full employment. As we require increased production there is not likely to be any shortage of jobs.

Management and wage earners alike have a common interest in the future of their industry. The Conservative way is to have a fair deal for all. Extra skill deserves extra reward.

Free and independent Trade Unions are an essential part of industry. On being returned to power Conservatives will confer with the leaders of the Trade Union movement on economic and labour problems.

Target 300,000 Houses

Provision of houses is the most urgent social service of all. It will be the duty of a Conservative Government to spare no effort to increase the number of houses built per year. After the needs of Defence have been met we shall give housing priority over all other forms of building. We believe that if the private builder is given freedom to build small houses, the target of 300,000 a year can be achieved. That number has been built under a Conservative Government before and it can be done again.

Finally, we Conservatives recognise that times will be hard this winter. There is a fuel crisis approaching and the nation is facing difficulties with its export trade. We shall tackle these problems courageously, and with the British people firmly behind us, we believe we can overcome them.

Margaret Roberts. * P.S. Remember— The Ballot is secret No one can find out how you voted!


To be weak is to invite War. Conservatives put Defence first. Vote Conservative for a firm foreign policy.

Cost of Living

Careful spending of all public money is needed. Vote Conservative to restore the value of the pound.


Our target is 300,000 a year. Vote Conservative and give the builder freedom to turn hopes into homes.


Foresight is required in planning our coal resources. Vote Conservative for wise reorganisation of the industry.