Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for BBC (post-election reshuffle)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: (1) BBC Television Archive: OUP transcript (2) BBC Radio News Report 1800 10 June 1983
Journalist: Robin Day, BBC
Editorial comments: MT gave interviews 1030-1120. BBC Radio News 1300 10 June 1983 further reported that MT said she had no intention of running an extreme Government: "I have not been extreme in the last four years. I am not an extreme person and we shall not be extreme now. I am adamant for freedom and justice and for defending it. And there’d be something wrong if I weren’t". The Times , 11 June 1983, adds that she told Day: "Power is a trust. When you get a big result like that... you have to be even more careful the way you use that trust and the way you use that responsibility".
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1014
Themes: Executive (appointments), Elections & electoral system, Liberal & Social Democratic Parties, Famous statements by MT, General Elections
(1) BBC Television Archive: OUP transcript

Nicholas Witchell, BBC

The victory was certain. For Margaret Thatcher there had never been any doubt, the only question, just how large would it be? At 4 o'clock this morning, the view from Central Office was a sweet one. After little more than three hours sleep, Mrs. Thatcher was back receiving bouquets and plaudits form some of her most loyal party supporters. In Downing Street, the atmosphere was festive. There was a policeman on a white horse, tourists and well-wishers lingering in hope of a glimpse of something notable. Even Downing Street staff stopped work to watch from their windows. A steady stream of bouquets arrived at the door of number 10 and a large bottle of champagne. The first two messages from abroad came from the Premiers of South Africa and New Zealand. Both sent their good wishes. The flowers were very nice, but already Mrs. Thatcher was considering more serious matters—the reshaping of her Cabinet. She spoke to Sir Robin Day:


What you have to do, is that you have a number of people in the House for quite a time, you've had a number of people in junior posts, you know people who are … climbing the ladder, want to be able to climb up another rung. The terrifying thing and frightening thing for me is, the worst job I ever have to do here, is that means … having to … for some people to come on the ladder, some people have to climb off. And it's not because they've done the job badly at all. It is because you have to keep movement in politics in order to keep people with something to go for.

Robin Day, BBC

I think it was Asquith who said, perhaps in this very building, that a Prime Minister must be a good butcher. Are you a good butcher, Mrs. Thatcher?


No, I'm not a good butcher, but have had to learn to carve the joint.

film of MT in Downing Street

Nicholas Witchell, BBC

For Margaret Thatcher, a personal as well as a political triumph.

Downing Street Vox Pop

You've done very well.


Thank you very much.

Nicholas Witchell, BBC

There was no visit to Buckingham Palace. Being the incumbent Prime Minister, none was necessary. Instead, after working the long line of outstretched hands in Downing Street, a final wave from the victor at the door of number 10, before moving inside to continue work on the details of the new government. three cheers from the crowd [end p1]

(2) BBC Radio News Report 1800 10 June 1983

John Sergeant

The Prime Minister spent the afternoon at Downing Street mixing work with the pleasurable business of receiving congratulatory phone calls, most noteably from President Reagan and from the West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Mrs. Thatcher has also been consulting with the Deputy Prime Minister Willie Whitelaw and the Party Chairman, Cecil Parkinson. But her most pressing concern, the coming Cabinet reshuffle will of course finally be decided by herself alone. The announcement is expected tomorrow afternoon, but the Prime Minister has already made it clear that she will try to see that it contains a balance of the views held by Conservative MPs.


I think it's the time to have a new look and I think people rather expect it—a new look, and a combination of those two things is important, and in any event I feel it's time to have a new look. It will somehow make it perfectly clear—have a range of people in Cabinet you always, as I tried to make clear during the election, try to reflect in your Cabinet the spectrum of views within the Party.


On the Labour side the inquest is well underway on why the Conservatives achieved the most outstanding victory since 1945. John Silkin said the seeds of defeat were sewn well before the start of the election campaign. Denis Healey blames what he called the renegades of the SDP for harming democracy. There's been plenty of comment too about what will happen when Michael Foot steps down as party leader. The date for nominations in what can be an annual contest for leadership is only just over a month away but there's no indication of when Mr. Foot will make his wishes known. He made a speech of thanks to staff at the Labour Party headquarters, but afterwards declined to speak to reporters. Leading members of the Liberal SDP Alliance have been bitterly critical of the way the result in seats hasn't all reflected their share of the popular vote. The Liberals won 17 seats, the SDP six, but the Alliance won about a quarter of the total votes. They weren't very far behind Labour, but Labour now has nine times the number of seats. The Liberal Leader, David Steel said he was still angry about the outcome.


I am very angry that we haven't got more seats out of it and I do believe that such as the basic sense of fair play and justice in the electorate as a whole that that sense of outrage isn't going to be confined to the people who voted for us. I think a lot of people who voted Conservative or Labour will agree now that the electoral system ought to be changed.


But the Prime Minister has made it clear that she is thoroughly in favour of the present system.


Some of the people in the SDP had they still been returned for the Labour Party, when the Labour Party lost, would have been absolutely adamant for the system that's given clear decisive Government. What they want is a system that will put them in, or they believe will put them in, and not a system which for generations has given good, decisive, strong Government in this country.