That phone call from Downing St.
“The appointment was both a thrill and a relief,” says Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Minister of Education and M.P. for Finchley and Friern Barnet, writing about her new Cabinet job in the magazine of the Finchley Young Conservatives.
“The week-end following the General Election found those who hoped for an appointment staying close to their telephones!
“These rang several times on Friday evening and early Saturday morning, but it was mostly journalists who wanted to know what one would do if …
“Eventually at lunchtime the right call came through and I was summoned to Number 10 and offered the Education Ministry.
“It was a thrill because of the enormity of the challenge and a relief because I already had a good deal of background information through months of hard work in the Shadow Cabinet. On Monday morning, by 10 a.m., I was in the ministry setting about the job of implementing manifesto promises.
“The first weeks were extremely busy. Once the House of Commons is in session life becomes particularly hectic. For education we took administrative action to implement pledges and were faced with a big one-day debate almost immediately.
“At least we were not going to be accused of ‘flabby’ or indecisive government.”
Mrs. Thatcher continued: “Soon I fell into the new routine. Cabinet meetings two mornings a week, question time for us on Monday afternoon, two or three deputations a day, as well as masses of correspondence and personal cases.
“The job is to find enough thinking time for new and creative policies—and, of course, enough resources to carry them out.”