Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1975 Feb 8 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

Press Conference after speaking to Young Conservative Conference

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Eastbourne
Source: (1) Sunday Telegraph , 9 February 1975 (2) ITN Archive: Late Evening News (2230-2242) 8 February 1975
Journalist: (1) A.J. Travers, Sunday Telegraph , reporting (2) Ray Moloney, ITN, reporting
Editorial comments: After lunch? The ITN report contains material from MT’s (and Whitelaw’s) speech, as well as their banter with journalists on the promenade. Both leadership candidates gave press conferences. We attempted to trace A.J. Travers in order to clear permission to reproduce this article but were unable to do so.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1223
Themes: Conservatism, Conservative Party (organization), Economy (general discussions), General Elections, Monetary policy, Conservative (leadership elections)
(1) Sunday Telegraph, 9 February 1975

‘Reward work—Mrs. Thatcher

People who work harder should receive greater rewards and should be allowed to keep them after tax, Mrs. Thatcher told the National Young Conservatives conference at East-bourne yesterday.

The workers not the shirkers should be encouraged.

It was not only permissible but praiseworthy to want to benefit one's family through one's own efforts.

“You would not have political liberty for long if all power and property went to the State,” she said.

Those who prospered had a duty and responsibility to care for others. That responsibility did not stop at home, but extended to the community of which we all were part.

Tackling inflation must be given first priority. This would involve looking at the money supply and public expenditure.

Second thoughts

Mr Whitelaw did not make a formal speech at the conference but answered questions on devolution and party organisation.

Accepting his share of responsibility, as a member of the Conservative Cabinet which decided on the reorganisation of local government, he said he now questioned whether the decision was wise.

Mr. Whitelaw said the British way of life was threatened by the most Left-wing dominated Government the country had ever had. There would be great efforts to change British industry and the whole of our society.

A sense of mission and idealism was required to resist wrong change and to stand up for what was best in British society.

‘Good Old Ted’

There was prolonged applause and a cry of “Good old Ted” when Mr. Whitelaw said it was right that a Conservative Government had taken Britain into Europe. The applause was renewed when he said it would be the height of folly and a disaster for the world if Britain were to leave the E.E.C.

A tribute to Mr. Heath 's standing abroad was paid by Mr. Walker, Shadow Defence Secretary, when he replied to a debate on defence. The Russians and Chinese knew that Mr. Heath was determined to defend his country.

“In China he was the most respected of all Western statesmen.”

Cause of vandalism

Sir Christopher Soames said Mr. Heath 's foresight, determination and skill had taken Britain into Europe.

In a debate on youth facilities Mr. David Varley, chairman of the Sussex Young Conservatives, who is a solicitor, said one of the real causes of growing vandalism was boredom, due largely to the raising of the school-leaving age.

Truancy among the 15 and 16-year-olds was rising, but local education authorities were hiding the facts. Boys who were bored went out and committed crimes of vandalism.

Mr. Varley also suggested that the Children and Young Person's Act of 1969 had been a failure.

Magistrates were giving up in despair because they were unable to recommend the supervision and punishment they knew to be necessary.

The conference carried a resolution expressing concern over the considerable differences in young people's recreational facilities in different parts of the country and called on local authorities to do all they can to improve the situation.

Election hopes

At a Press conference after her speech Mrs. Thatcher said her hopes of winning the leadership were “fairly high.” She added later: “Anyone would be thrilled at the reception that I received today from the Young Conservatives.”

Referring to the next General Election, she said: “We will work jolly hard to get back the votes in the industrial areas which we lost in the last two elections. If a person is a Conservative the essential thing is what he believes, not where he lives.” [end p1]

(2) ITN Archive: Late Evening News (2230–2242) 8 February 1975

Mr Whitelaw and Mrs Thatcher—two of the contenders for the Tory leadership—have been speaking to the Young Conservatives' national conference in Eastbourne.

Mr. Whitelaw warned of the dangers of becoming an “ageing party”—and called on it to identify itself with people in the North.

Mrs Thatcher dealt mainly with the country's economic problems, and warned that economic policies wouldn't work unless people worked. “We should back the workers—not the shirkers,” she said. Ray Moloney reports: [end p2]


It may, of course, have had something to do with the cameras, but it was sweetness and light and all jolly good chaps, metaphorically speaking, together, when the two top contenders for the Tory leadership—Margaret Thatcher and William Whitelaw, met in public for the first time today. They even managed to kiss, and how many times do you see two potential leaders for a major political party do that in public? Mrs. Thatcher said he'd kissed her and she'd kissed him many times in the past, and that there was nothing particularly important about today's exchange. The pair had been kept carefully apart by the organisers of the Young Conservatives' Conference at which they both appeared in Eastbourne today, but good manners and the need for lunch overcame this. If the knives are out at the Tory party, they certainly weren't visible today. At the conference, Mr. Whitelaw got a standing ovation. In a question and answer session, he spoke of the challenges facing the Conservatives:


The mood is that much of our British way of life is being threatened, by what we have to accept is the most left-wing dominated labour government that has probably ever been in this country.


Mrs. Thatcher, who had the advantage of speaking to a prepared motion, had a wry comment on the publicity surrounding the leadership battle.


I sometimes wonder what next week will contain, if Willie can be taken with photographs scouring saucepans, who knows, I might be taken on a golf course before the week's over.


Her theme was the individual, not the state.


You would not have political liberty for long if all power and property went to the state.


Her reception was greater than that for Mr. Whitelaw, but then the Tory party has not always paid attention to the enthusiasm of its non-parliamentary members. I asked Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Whitelaw how they felt.


How do you think it's going to go on Tuesday? [end p3]


I have no idea, and I wouldn't give you …   .


Are you as cautiously optimistic as your supporters have been …   .


I'm very cautious …   .


Are you not at all optimistic?


Oh, yes, cautiously optimistic would be about right.


Thank you ma'am.


Thank you.


I've got a very enthusiastic band of supporters who're working very hard, they are very encouraged by the support we are receiving, and therefore, everything is going very well from our point of view.