Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Letter to Nigel Lawson (resignation)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: Nigel Lawson’s letter precedes MT’s. Exact time of issue uncertain.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 376
Themes: Executive (appointments), Economic policy - theory and process, Monetary policy, Taxation, Economic, monetary & political union

Dear Margaret

The successful conduct of economic policy is possible only if there is, and is seen to be, full agreement between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Recent events have confirmed that this essential requirement cannot be satisfied so long as Alan Walters remains your personal economic adviser.

I have therefore regretfully concluded that it is in the best interests of the Government for me to resign my office without further ado.

I am extremely grateful to you for the opportunity you have given me to serve in the Government, particularly over the past six and a half years as Chancellor; and I am proud of what we have achieved together.

I shall, of course, continue to support the Government from the back benches.

Yours ever,

Nigel [end p1]

Dear Nigel LawsonNigel,

It is with the most profound regret that I received your letter. We have spoken since and, as you know, it was my most earnest hope that you would continue your outstanding stewardship as Chancellor of the Exchequer at least for the rest of this Parliament. There is no difference in our basic economic beliefs, and Britain's economy is vastly stronger as a result of the policies which you and I and the Government have planned and pursued together.

You took a key part in preparing our party for Government before 1979. Your work at the Treasury, as Financial Secretary, on the Medium Term Financial Strategy, and at the Department of Energy in overseeing the privatisation of Britoil were landmarks in the Government's success. You have been responsible for possibly the most far-reaching reform of our tax structure this century, as well as for a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity. It is a matter of particular regret that you should decide to leave before your task is complete.

I know you will continue to support the Government vigorously from the backbenches, but all in Cabinet will miss the great ability and breadth of understanding which you have brought to our deliberations

Please thank Therese LawsonTherese for her splendid support.

Yours ever,