Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Letter to Leon Brittan MP (resignation)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: Leon Brittan’s letter of resignation precedes MT’s. The news of Leon Brittan’s resignation and the exchange of letters broke shortly before 1800.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 299
Themes: Executive, Executive (appointments)

(1) Leon Brittan to MT, 24 January 1986:

My dear Prime Minister,

Since your statement in the House yesterday it has become clear to me that I no longer command the full confidence of my colleagues.

In these circumstances my continued membership of your Government would be a source of weakness rather than strength and, as I have explained to you, it is for this reason that I have tendered my resignation.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve in your Government successively as Minister of State at the Home Office, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, as Home Secretary and as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

I shall of course continue to give the Government my full support from the backbenches.

It is above all vital that the crucial work of national regeneration which we were all elected to achieve should continue unimpeded.

Yours ever, Leon BrittanLeon [end p1]

(2) MT to Leon Brittan, 24 January 1986:

My dear Leon,

I am very sorry that despite all the arguments I could use I was unable to dissuade you this afternoon from resigning. As I told you, I have received in recent hours many messages of support for you from Parliamentary colleagues. It was my wish that you should remain as a member of the Cabinet. But I have to respect your decision.

I have greatly valued you as a Cabinet colleague, as Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Home Secretary and as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. We shall all miss you. You have been a steadfast exponent of Government policy and I have admired the dedication and loyalty with which you have carried our your duties. I hope that it will not be long before you return to high office to continue your Ministerial career.

Yours ever, Margaret