Threatened revolt over steel chief collapses
by Michael Hatfield, Political Reporter
The threatened Tory revolt over the appointment of Mr Ian MacGregor as the new chairman of the British Steel Corporation collapsed last night, after Sir Keith Joseph, Secretary of State for Industry, attended a private meeting of the Conservative backbench committee.
One critic said later that after the backing which Mrs Margaret Thatcher the Prime Minister, gave Sir Keith on BBC radio it was clear there was not going to be a revolt. The message came down from upon high, he said.
Although Sir Keith was sharply questioned about his appointment of Mr MacGregor, which caused a furore in the Commons when he announced it last week, he pacified some of the more concerned back-benchers.
The one new piece of inforrmation is that Mr MacGregor had accepted the chairmanship on the understanding that there would be no increase in the Government-imposed cash limits on British Steel.
Sir Keith was questioned on three areas of policy; the precedent of the appointment, the principle, and the effect it would have on the trade unions who had been told by ministers that there was not the money available to meet their wage claim.