Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1975 Feb 4 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for BBC (winning leadership first ballot)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: ?House of Commons
Source: BBC Sound Archive: OUP transcript
Journalist: Hardiman Scott, BBC
Editorial comments: The interview must have taken place between 1600 and 1700 - news of Edward Heath’s resignation had not reached MT at this point.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 453
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Conservative Party (organization), Conservative (leadership elections)

MT

I was very pleased indeed with it. It was a few more than we had dared to hope. As you know we were very cautious in our predictions, and I think that's the way.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

Do you think in a second ballot you can pick up enough votes now?

MT

I believe so. I believe that our existing vote will remain firm.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

How do you interpret this result so far?

MT

Well it's difficult to interpret. We're across the first hurdle and there are others to go. Each time we come to one we take it as best we can and we work quietly.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

Some of your colleagues have suggested to me that it's … a vote of the backbenchers against the existing leadership. Do you interpret it that way?

MT

[Pauses.] I would be very loathe to give any specific interpretation. After ten years it's not surprising that the leadership should come into question. But it's a very real achievement for anyone to have held the leadership for as long as ten years.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

Do you think Mr. Heath should now stand down?

MT

That's wholly a decision for him. I'm the first to recognize that what is good news for me is rather sad news for him, and I know full well that he has important decisions to be thinking about and I think he must take his time and do them in his own way.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

But presumably you want him to—stand aside, else you wouldn't be contesting the leadership, would you? [end p1]

MT

If Mr. Heath wishes to fight the second ballot he has every bit as much right to do so as I have, and that's his decision.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

Do you think, Mrs. Thatcher, you can win against, say, Mr. Heath and Mr. Whitelaw?

MT

I believe we can win.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

And if you win, are you going to make big changes in the existing Shadow Cabinet?

MT

[Takes in breath.] If we win there will be changes to be made in a number of directions. There will be time to consider exactly what those shall be. At the moment we have to think about the second ballot, and I'm not thinking further than that at the present time.

Hardiman Scott, BBC

How would you see yourself as leader of the Conservative Party?

MT

[Takes in breath.] I'm afraid I shall just be myself. How else could I be?