New Tory leader makes a promise
Triumphant Margaret Thatcher, MP for Finchley and Friern Barnet for 15 years, will be in her constituency today for interviews with residents and a social gathering tonight.
Speaking to me in an exclusive interview before her conference for the world's Press on Tuesday, she said: “I shall be in Finchley on Friday.”
And she made this promise: “I shall be carrying on in the constituency as normal.”
She also thanked her local supporters: “Everyone has been marvellous to me.”
Mrs Thatcher— “call me Maggie” —will be attending a meeting of Friern Barnet North branch of the Conservative Association this evening.
As she left her victory Press conference in the Grand Committee Room at the Commons she was congratulated by her agent, Mr Roy Langstone, and presented with some pot plants from the association.
He said: “It's fantastic. It's going to be terribly exciting. I predicted she would get 141 votes and Mr Whitelaw 79.”
“Mr. John Gorst, Conservative MP for Hendon North, one of Mrs Thatcher's most active campaigners, was also remarkably correct in predicting the outcome.
“I never doubted that she would win—I knew what the figures were,” he said.
He gave her a kiss to show his feelings at her historic win.
In the central lobby, Dr Rhodes Boyson, Conservative MP for Brent North, said he was “very pleased” at the outcome.
He thought it would change the direction of the Tory Party— “which is desperately needed.”
The party had been floundering for ten years, and he thought “a general sigh of relief” would go round the country.
“What is important now is to pursue some genuine right-wing policies,” Dr Boyson added.
The many telegrams sent to Mrs Thatcher on Tuesday included one from Councillor Andrew Pares, Leader of Barnet Council, from the Conservative group.
He said he was confident that she would make a great success of the leadership. The telegram promised the group's full support.
And one of her opponents in the last two General Elections, Labour Councillor Martin O'Connor, also sent her his personal congratulations.
Councillor Miss Jean Parmer (C., Finchley) went to Mrs Thatcher's photocall at Conservative Party headquarters in Smith Square to express her support in person.
I have known Mrs Thatcher for the nine years I have been on this newspaper. I am not only delighted as a woman at her startling rise to the top of the political world, but also as a journalist.