Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1975 Feb 11 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for BBC (after winning Conservative leadership)

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Radio Interview
Venue: House of Commons
Source: BBC Sound Archive: OUP transcript
Journalist: Peter Hill, BBC
Editorial comments: Exact time and place of interview uncertain. The interview was first broadcast on the PM programme.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 495
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Conservative Party (organization), Foreign policy (general discussions), Conservative (leadership elections), Women

MT

Well I was very, very thrilled and tears sprang to one's eyes.

Peter Hill, BBC

What did you think about the rules that have, er, brought it, the leadership to you on the second ballot?

MT

Well I accepted the rules right at the outset whatever they might bring. It's of course a special bonus that they've brought a wonderful decisive result.

Peter Hill, BBC

What are your immediate priorities now?

MT

Well I have to appoint a new Shadow Cabinet, but I hope for the time being that the existing people and the other spokesmen will stay in position because the business of Parliament has to be carried. It's comparatively rare to change right in mid-session.

Peter Hill, BBC

Will you be inviting all your rivals including Mr. Heath to serve?

MT

I am pledged to ask Mr. Heath to serve. It's a matter for him whether he wishes to do so. And of course I expect rivals in this round who are members of the Shadow Cabinet to continue.

Peter Hill, BBC

Do you intend to shake up the Shadow Cabinet and lead the party in a new direction?

MT

Well I think, inevitably, if you have a new leader people expect certain changes to be made. But you've got really to blend two things. There must be a great element of continuity and there must be an element of change. And so we have to look for people, all on the basis of merit, to see what new people we can bring in and they must also be geographically representative and, too, they must represent a wide spectrum of opinion across the party. [end p1]

Peter Hill, BBC

Being the first woman leader of any party, do you any expect any problems just because you're a woman?

MT

No, I don't think so. I don't see that it's any different being a Leader of the Opposition from being a shadow minister.

Peter Hill, BBC

Are you worried about your lack of experience on the international stage?

MT

Er, not unduly. Er, one would have preferred more. But you can't have experience at everything in politics. My experience has been largely in home affairs, but you know we've had a marvellous foreign secretary and shadow foreign secretary in Alec Douglas-Home for a long timeā€”for all the ten years in which I have been a member of the top cabinet or shadow cabinet.

Peter Hill, BBC

Finally, what would be your message to those MPs and Conservatives in the country who supported any of your rivals, and also to those in the country haven't voted Conservative in the past?

MT

That we must now stand together and fight for the things in which we all believe. They're more important than any of us individually.