Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech to 1922 Committee

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: House of Commons
Source: (1) Thatcher Archive: speaking notes (2) BBC Radio News Report 0700 17 July 1987 (3) The Times, 17 July 1987
Journalist: (2) Viv Robins, BBC, reporting (3) Robin Oakley, The Times, reporting
Editorial comments:


Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1634
Themes: Education, Employment, Housing, Local government, Local government finance, Community charge (“poll tax”), General Elections, Parliament, Conservatism, Conservative Party (organization), Labour Party & socialism, Leadership, Famous statements by MT
[(1) Thatcher Archive: speaking notes][Handwritten notes by MT.
[? word] indicates uncertain word.]

Mr. Onslow July 1987

1) Congratulations to all colleagues on success - particular welcome to new members.

2) Could have delayed election until October. This we made the right decision.

3) One of most distinguished of “new” backbenchers - Chairman of the Norman TebbitParty. Thanks for securing victory. [p2]

Why we won

Not diverted by packaging & trivia. Fundamental policies were right recognised to be right. 1) Defence - 2) Sound Finance - increased prosperity [end p1]

3) Wider Spread of Ownership Home Owning

Share Owning

Capital Owning

Pension Owning people

4) Tory enterprise worked - more jobs - if you want better social service need the govt whose policies produce economic growth[p3]

Those policies gave more good news today 12 months of falling unemployment. 1 million 224 thousand new jobs.

Very good start for new Parliament And note - first question today came from N. West [p4]

Opponents talk of N/S divide

1) Labour has no basis for support in S.E. / S.W. / East Anglia Those areas leaving aside Inner London have together 16.8 million people - 3 seats for Labour

2) West Midlands East Midlands

36 cons - 22 Lab 31 - 4 [end p2] [p5]

3) North, North West Yorks & Humberside 63 seats - Lab.9.6 And Conservative share of vote increased in constituencies

Copeland Darlington

Barrow Bury

Keighley Bolton

4) Scotland (5.1 - 10 seats) lost many good colleagues who fought splendid campaigns[p6]

some of whom (and in Wales) (2.8 - 8 seats) got more votes than in 1983 - good base from which to gain&gain we must.

We who are the only party with good support throughout the country and good basis to recover what we lost & gain more [end p3] [p7]

Now for this Parliament and this crucial first session Policies on which we won will all continue That is the background for further advance.

Heavy programme of legislation - proceeding [p8]

on sound principle of introducing the most radical & far reaching legislation first - not only because this is the longest session - so that policies can take effect well before next election.[p9]

Some will complain that these proposals are controversial Yes - they are But remember

We fought and won this General Election on successes which at the time [end p4] they were introduced were equally controversial. [p10]


Community Charge So that they same level of service at the same level of efficiency will mean the same community charge.

When it's fully operative councils really will accountable. And the charge will really bring pressure [p11] on high-spending Labour councils - pressure from the majority of the electorate & not just from long-suffering ratepayers - and of course the poor and full protected A much better prospect than facing a 17 year revaluation of domestic rates. [p12]

Education legislation This is the key to the [end p5] future - designed to bring true education and opportunity to those who are not receiving it now, and who would never get it from municipal socialism. One of last centuries Russian philosophers 1880 “Socialism will be the feudalism[p13] of the future.”

In some of the Inner cities that is what it has become today. In Edn. - Housing Dependence on say-so of local councils

Housing - bringing opportunity to those who will always live in rented property. [p14]

As we get involved in the detail of these Bills, let us not lose sight of the fundamental objectives, which are at the heart of Tory policy. [end p6]

And let us not forget that we have succeeded so far because we are a govt [p15]

and party which is united and which has steadfastly delivered the programme on which we were elected. Labour Party - Divided Liberals & S.D.P. - disintegrating.

We are the only UNITED party. It is a priceless asset because people believe - rightly[p16] that only a Party united should be entrusted with government. Now 101 is a good majority but we have to do better next time.

Constituency assns have been wonderful to us - we must invoke their help & that of all supporters in giving practical [end p7] [p17] advice & practical help in how to run the schools which opt out, in forming housing associations to help tenants to opt out - for our policies require involvement, self help, personal responsibility to work. Then Just as we gained political support in the last election from people who had[918] acquired their own homes and shares so we will secure still further our political base in 1991&en;92 by giving people a deciding voice in education & housing. [p19]

Mr. Onslow

Only about half the members of this Committee were here in the House when we embarked on our major reforms in 1979.

We have had a far [end p8] better start to the beginning of this our third term than we had either in 1979 or in 1983.[p20] In a few moments I shall leave for Washington knowing we have a confident country bringing inspiration to other nations This we have achieved together Not bad for a start. [end p9]

[(2) BBC Radio News Report 0700 17 July 1987]

The Prime Minister has arrived in Washington for talks with President Reagan and senior figures in the administration. She's due to meet Vice President Bush, the Secretary of State, Mr. Shultz, and the Defence Secretary, Mr. Weinberger. She'll also be giving a series of television interviews before seeing Mr. Reagan for talks expected to focus on arms control and the Middle East. Before leaving London last night, Mrs. Thatcher addressed a meeting of the 1922 committee of Conservative backbench MPs. And she issued a rallying cry, aimed at stiffening the resolve of those who've expressed doubts over plans to reform education and bring in a community charge - or poll tax. Here's Viv Robins of our political staff: [end p10]

Mrs. Thatcher in buoyant mood conceded that the government's more radical policies were controversial, but so too she reminded them had been the policies on which they'd just fought and won the last election. These policies were right, equitable and fair she insisted, and she described the community charge as the flagship of policy, drawing laughter when she reminded MPs that it had been the former Prime Minister Edward Heath who had instructed her to get rid of rates as long ago as 1974. As for education and housing, they would offer a way out for those who felt trapped by municipal socialism and they would prove the vote winners at the next election that wider home and share ownership had proved at the last. Mrs. Thatcher wasted little time on the opposition. The alliance was divided she said and in a pointed reference to Mr. Kinnock's election campaign, she remarked that the Conservatives had won because they had not been diverted by trivia and packaging. But she drew an implicit contrast with both opposition parties when she stressed that the Tories were the only national party in Great Britain, and that the unity of the party and the government was a priceless asset. [end p11]

[(3) The Times, 17 July 1987]

Thatcher rallies her backbench MPs on Community Tax

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher told Conservative MPs last night that the community charge was the flagship of the Government's radical programme and made clear that she expected their support on the issue.

She left them also with the clear impression that she intends to fight the next election in 1991 or 1992 as the party leader, saying that the present 101-majority was good, but that “we must do better next time”.

Tackling Tory fears about the impending poll tax legislation, Mrs. Thatcher told an end-of-session meeting of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers that in 1974 Mr. Edward Heath had told her: “You've got to get rid of rates”. She said: “It's taken some time”.

Mrs. Thatcher described the Government's programme as radical and controversial. But it had won the general election on the results of policies which were equally controversial at the time they were introduced.

There was a heavy legislative programme for the first session; but it was a “sound principle” to introduce the most radical legislation as soon as possible so that the policies took effect before the next election.

The poll tax was vital to make high-spending Labour local authorities accountable for the first time.

Mrs. Thatcher singled out the Education Bill as “the key to the future” and the most important piece of legislation in the programme. She said that it would provide a long-term educational opportunity for all, irrespective of background, and would allow those trapped by municipal socialism to opt out.

She said that the Tories had won the election with the support of those who had bought council houses and arsquouired shares for the first time in privatized industries.

They could secure their political base in 1991 or 1992 by giving people a “real say” on education and in housing.

Labour had held just three seats among 16.8 million people in the South, South-west and South-east. The Conservative Party, which had 10 seats among 5.4 million people in Scotland and eight seats among 2.8 million in Whales, was the only truly national party.

Mrs. Thatcher paid tribute to Mr. Norman Tebbit, the party chairman, who she described as “one of the architects” of the Tory victory.