First briefing - beginning about 9pm local time
Bernard Ingham[tape time 1.20] … to make myself available, as they say - here I am. Um, just a little bit of background. The Prime Minister came back - this is unattributable British sources - the Prime Minister came back about 5.45. The, the the - sort of restricted session didn’t seem to go on very long. Round about that. This is Paris time. And she joined the Foreign Secretary, the Ambassador and his wife. Peter Morrison arrived I suppose at about 5 o’clock or thereabouts. There was myself and Charles Powell and Mrs Crawford there. And we had tea and cakes, and a chat and whatever. And then the hairdresser came about an hour later. She - the hairdresser came and she went upstairs a little before 6.45 and we assembled in Peter Morrison’s room - room number two - at 7.15. That was overlooking the courtyard, we could hear you all. [laughter - someone says "we couldn’t hear you", Ingham laughing too]. Well, it’s very difficult, it’s rather high up you see. We couldn’t see. I heard the noise though. ["Maybe ?next time"] Now stop it. And I suppose we heard just after - what, 6.30, no 7.30, um, and you know what happens from then on. After the, um, the Prime Minister had spoken to Denis Thatcher and her family and Norman Tebbit, expressing … the Chief Whip, George Younger and Kenneth Baker expressing thanks to them for all their efforts and of course she is going to fight a second round.
Peter Allen, ITNSorry I missed all that. You said Denis Thatcher, family, Chief Whip …
Bernard InghamNorman … well, err, umm Mark, I think she talked to Carol too, Norman Tebbit certainly, Chief Whip, Kenneth Baker and George Younger.
JournalistDid she call Mark in America or is he over here?
Bernard InghamI think he is over here.
Peter Allen, ITNWas that all in a succession of phone calls then Bernard?
JournalistWho actually then conveyed the result to, err, Peter Morrison?
Bernard InghamChief …
JournalistCould we wait for the microphone?
JournalistSorry. [Some indistinct comments, microphone arrives] Who actually conveyed the result to …
Bernard InghamI think the Chief Whip conveyed it to Peter Morrison.
JournalistWere the phone calls from Paris to London or the other way round or a mixture?
Bernard InghamThere was an open line.
JournalistWhen people assembled in Peter Morrison’s room, number two, was that the same group as downstairs? Did that include Douglas Hurd? And did it include you and Charles, or …?
Bernard InghamMm. [ie, assents] Douglas Hurd came in and out, you know.
JournalistYou and Charles were there?
Bernard InghamDouglas Hurd wasn’t there at the moment the result came, but he came in later.
JournalistAnd the Prime Minister was there? She was there?
Bernard InghamYes, indeed. Absolutely! Yeah. [Laughter in the room, which Ingham joins]
Peter Snow, BBCThe phone went and Peter Morrison was called to …
Bernard InghamNo, the phone didn’t go, because there was an open line.
Peter Snow, BBCSorry, ok, yeah. And Peter Morrison was on the open line first …
Bernard InghamHe was, and then he presented the figures to the Prime Minister.
JournalistAt what time exactly?
Journalist[Irish accent] At what time please? At what time?
Bernard InghamOh I don’t know what time. It was after half past seven.
Peter Allen, ITNWhat did she say?
Bernard InghamNo, no I am not going into any of that. I mean the …
JournalistThe Foreign Secretary would have had the results relayed afterwards? He wasn’t there, he didn’t know the results.
Other journalistThe Foreign Secretary didn’t know this.
Bernard InghamI think he knew, yes. I think plenty of people …
FCO officialI asked that John because I anticipated the question. I believe he heard it on the radio.
JournalistWere the phone calls purely to thank these people? Was there any question of seeking advice or …
Bernard InghamNo, no. She thanked them. But she, she came down and very quickly … it was after she had done that that she spoke to them, yeah.
JournalistCould you characterise please Bernard her reaction even if not her words?
Bernard InghamOh disappointed. She said …
Peter Snow, BBCWould you characterise … [talks over & interrupts] Sorry Bernard. Would you characterise the phone calls as consultation or were they simply sort of thank you and …
Bernard InghamThank you.
Peter Allen, ITN[indistinct question] … Bernard, sorry …
Bernard InghamNo, no hang on a minute. Let’s finish this one.
Peter Snow, BBCI want to be clear what she … I mean you are not going to tell me what she said to Kenneth Baker and Tebbit and so on …
Bernard InghamI certainly shan’t do that
Peter Snow, BBCOf course you won’t …
Bernard InghamShe simply spoke to the people to thank them for their efforts.
Peter Snow, BBCCould I be quite clear? There was no way that she asked their advice then?
Bernard InghamNo. She … she [6.00] had determined that she would stand and go for a second ballot.
Peter Snow, BBCWithout consulting anyone, to be precise?
Bernard InghamNo, no. I mean, a lot of consultation had gone on, of course. Before.
Peter Snow, BBCBut not since she heard the news?
Peter Snow, BBCQuite.
JournalistBernard, are you saying before the precise figures were known she had already made up her mind …
Bernard InghamWell, the government is in a position where … Same
Journalist… to stand?
Bernard Ingham… indeed it always knows what it is going to do in certain circumstances, yeah.
JournalistThese phones calls you said were before she made her statement. But in her statement she said she had a lot of telephoning to do.
Bernard InghamWell, she certainly did. And she went back inside to do it. Same
JournalistSo who did she speak to after …
Bernard InghamWell, damn it, I’ve told you. Denis Thatcher, her … Same
JournalistSo it was afterwards?
Peter Allen, ITNWhen you say that government always knows what it will do in certain circumstances, she had talked to her advisers, backers before …
Bernard InghamShe talked to Peter … she talked to Peter Morrison. Mm, mm [as if agreeing with Allen]
Peter Allen, ITNIf this is the vote, what do we do?
Bernard InghamWe know … I mean, obviously, you have to take account of a range of possibilities and this is exactly what she did.
Peter Snow, BBCSo there’s no problem …
Bernard InghamThere’s no problem at all.
Peter Snow, BBCWell, no no no no. Timing timing timing. I mean we were outside there. We heard the announcement of the results sort of 7.34ish, right [Ingham grunts assent], she appeared I mean two minutes later. She was very very quick out there.
Bernard InghamAbsolutely. We knew exactly what we were going to do.
Peter Snow, BBCWell, no indeed. But you are telling us she had one, two, three, four, five phone calls …?
Bernard InghamNo, I didn’t! [indignant] I said afterwards. [Other Journalists interject, some laughter]
Peter Snow, BBCSorry, I am sorry, sorry. Good good good. After she made her statement. So …
Bernard InghamThe penny has dropped.
Peter Snow, BBCGot it. [More laughter from other Journalists] No, no, just be absolutely clear. So, call comes - Morrison open line, Morrison says ’thank you very much’, tells the Prime Minister, she almost immediately goes downstairs onto the steps?
Bernard InghamWe know exactly what the position was. We knew what we were going to do in various circumstances.
JournalistThe family, Bernard. Were Denis, Mark and Carol all at Downing Street?
Bernard InghamGod, I’ve no idea where you were. I would guess that Denis and Mark were, yes. I don’t know where Carol was.
JournalistCould you say a bit more about the Prime Minister’s attitude? You just used one word, ’disappointed’.
Bernard Ingham[8.00] That’s all I’m prepared to say, yeah.
Journalist[Indistinct question - about nomination?] … by whom?
Bernard InghamShe hasn’t yet. She announced her intention to let her name go forward. I mean - I don’t actually know when nominations open.
Peter Allen, ITNCould we ask you a general question, Bernard? I mean, clearly it is a pretty difficult situation in which to carry on, isn’t it?
Bernard InghamThe Prime Minister is going to take it to a second round. She is going to fight a second round, full stop. [8.34]
JournalistDoes the Prime Minister - or is it too early to say - does she expect her nominees once again to be the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary?
Bernard InghamI don’t, I can’t - I mean, I can’t answer that at all. Same
JournalistBut would that not be …?
Bernard InghamWell, what did Douglas Hurd say when he came down? Same
JournalistWell, he would, I am just wondering about - well, he said he would support her again.
Bernard InghamWell, he said he had also consulted the Chancellor, didn’t he? Same
JournalistHe did, did he?
Bernard InghamMm. [assenting] I mean I …
Same JournalistYou see, I didn’t … [other Journalists talk]
Bernard InghamDidn’t he? Oh. Oh. Well, I think - I think they have talked at any rate.
JournalistBut the PM has not talked to the Chancellor?
Bernard InghamNo, no no no.
FCO official[speaking quietly, perhaps directly to Ingham] Not to my knowledge.
Bernard InghamAh. Ah, right.
JournalistExcuse me, has this changed any plans?
Bernard InghamYes. We shall … I don’t think that there will be a press conference tomorrow.
JournalistsNo press conference?
Bernard InghamNo, no.
Peter Allen, ITNWill there be a briefing?
Bernard InghamNo. What she is going to do is that she is going to sign the document. Mm, mm. Female
Bernard InghamSorry. And then she makes a statement to the House, yeah.
JournalistBernard, just because it is operationally important, are you certain that there will be no press conference tomorrow, pretty certain?
Bernard InghamYes. Same
JournalistCan you tell us what time you are due back in Britain?
Bernard InghamI should have thought we will be back about 1 o’clock, or thereabouts, yeah.
JournalistThere is a rumour that she may be going back to UK tonight. Is that nonsense?
Bernard InghamNo, no absolutely not.
JournalistBernard, did you have any indication that the vote might be this close, or did it come as a surprise the actual …
Bernard InghamI think it came as a disappointment. Mmm.
JournalistWill she be arriving back at Northolt, or will there be an opportunity for photographers then?
Bernard InghamYes, I think we shall go back to Northolt. But there won’t normally be an opportunity there, no.
[pause, no questions for a moment or two]
JournalistLet’s be clear on her movements now. She has gone to Versailles, presumably missed the ballet, has she? Going to the dinner, is she?
Bernard InghamWell she is bound to have missed - I don’t think she could have got there in time for the ballet now. She left about ten to, didn’t she? Ten to. I mean I think it - I mean she might be with a bit of luck arriving now, that might be in the middle of the ballet or in one of the intermissions, but err …
JournalistHer duties here tomorrow are to attend the conference in the morning and …
Bernard InghamTo attend the conference and sign the treaty, yes.
JournalistAnd what time would all that finish, roughly?
Bernard InghamAhhh … [voice - 11.15] Well, yeah - I would have said 11.30 or something like that.
Journalist[Scottish accent] Bernard, when was the decision taken to cancel the press conference?
Bernard InghamErr, this evening. Ah, in order that she may get back and prepare for the statement. Same
JournalistOn your advice, or did she …?
Bernard InghamWell, I certainly didn’t dissent. Same
JournalistBut you would have liked to have been available to us, you must have been disappointed yourself?
Bernard InghamI am deeply disappointed never to be available to yourselves, yes. [Laughter from Journalists] I mean, my first duty in this life is to look after you. Even though you don’t look after me. [General laughter, Ingham joining.]
Peter Allen, ITNBefore the evening disintegrates, could we ask about Douglas Hurd?
Bernard InghamWhat do you mean "if the evening disintegrates"? [Laughter from Journalists.] You mean your evening?
Peter Allen, ITNI see hysteria settling in in Downing Street.
Bernard InghamWell, that’s pure invention on your part. But that won’t be the first time. [Laughter from Journalists]
Peter Allen, ITNI thought you only assaulted the BBC, Bernard. [tape at 12.00] I didn’t know you went for us as well. [Laughter, Allen joining.] Can I ask what the Foreign Secretary is doing tomorrow?
FCO officialTomorrow? Well, he will be going - I don’t know his diary for tomorrow Peter, actually. He will be going back, um. Just trying to recall. I honestly don’t know.
JournalistIsn’t he seeing the Portugese tomorrow?
FCO officialOh, I see. I thought you meant after he got back. No, no. Tomorrow morning he has got a bilateral with the Portugese, I think it is about 9 o’clock or 9.30, and then he will be in the plenary for the signing and then he will go straight back to the airport with the Prime Minister.
JournalistAny breakfast meetings?
Bernard Ingham[Speaking quietly, perhaps to FCO official] We don’t go in for that information if we can …
JournalistVery briefly, do you know what time she is due back tonight, from Versailles?
Bernard InghamWell, we will be very lucky if she can back before midnight.
JournalistAre we going to get any more from you or her tonight?
Bernard InghamWell, I don’t know. What do you think? [General laughter]
JournalistCould I …
Bernard InghamStop it! [More general laughter]
JournalistCould I just confirm that the Foreign Secretary did speak to the Chancellor?
Bernard InghamI think he did, yeah.
FCO official[Quietly] I don’t know, I’m sorry. [13.16]
JournalistDoes the Prime Minister have any intention of speaking to Mr Heseltine to congratulate him on his result? [Laughter]
Bernard Ingham[Pause, probably for effect]. No. [Laughter] You are being very provocative. I am being very restrained. [tape at 13.34]
JournalistCould I just ask again whether you had any indication throughout the day that the result might be this close. You say that it came as a disappointment, but was there any indication from the party managers during the day that it may be this close?
Bernard InghamNo. No, I stick with the word disappointed. The Prime Minister said that and I can’t go beyond that. [Pause] Ok, you have got lots to write.
JournalistWhat time would you like to see us?
Bernard InghamWell, I wouldn’t like to see you at all, actually [laughter], but if I have to, I think the earliest we ought to, that makes sense is about 12.30, yep.
Bernard InghamWell, here, yeah yeah.
JournalistThank you very much.
[tape at 14.13]
Second briefing - beginning about 1.10am local time
Bernard InghamAre you ready? Well, the Prime Minister has just returned with the Foreign Secretary, from this great event at Versailles, where she sat between, I think at dinner, Mr Martens of Belgium and the President of Bulgaria. [some laughter] She sat next to Mr Gonzalez at the ballet, which she actually managed to get to in time. And they had soup, lobster, chicken foie gras, cheese nougat glacé, Montrachet 85, Churchâteau Margaux 78 and champagne 83. How’s that? [Laughter]
Journalist[inaudible question - who pays?]
Bernard InghamNo, the French pay for all. [tape at 15.00] Um, and she has returned. She is having a drink now with … [pause, some laughter]. Well, hang on a minute - I mean, this barracking I get here - with the Foreign Secretary [groans from journalists, ’boo’, then laughter] Have you lot been to Versailles too? [laughter; inaudible remark] Eh? Ah, well, there you are. Well, that’s it. And she’s now turning to the debate of no confidence, I mean, she will have to do a statement tomorrow afternoon which she wants to return for early, to prepare, and then there is the debate of no confidence looming and therefore she is turning her mind to the preparation of that speech.
Bernard InghamWell, I mean, she is going to sign the, er - slightly earlier than she had intended because she is going to make a statement
Bernard InghamNo I can’t. We will have to do it tomorrow. We haven’t yet finalised the detail, but we will. I mean as soon as we can, we will give it to you.
JournalistYou said earlier that [inaudible]
JournalistBernard, has she said - has she had any more telephone calls?
Bernard InghamNo. She has come straight back and she is straight into planning the speech for the censure debate.
JournalistYou said earlier that she had had a lot of consultations before the decision tonight? Could you tell us who she consulted?
Bernard InghamNo, I can’t, no. But I mean the important point is that we prepare for every eventuality before it occurs. It is a sign of good government.
JournalistPresumably that was party officials though rather than, uh, Private Office? She would have spoken to people like Kenneth Baker?
Bernard InghamOh, well I am talking about politicians, you know, members of the government [last words inaudible]
Bernard InghamI am not aware of that, no.
JournalistBernard, do you think she will take a greater part in this …
Bernard InghamWhere are you?
Other JournalistI’m at the back
Bernard InghamAh, sorry.
JournalistBernard, do you think she will take a greater part campaigning in the second ballot than she did in the first, and make it more of a personal campaign?
Bernard InghamI have no idea. I mean this is a matter for the party, not for me. I don’t know how they will deal with that. All that I can - I mean I am simply making myself available as a matter of convenience to say that she is quite clearly determined to fight [tape at 18.00] as she indicated earlier.
JournalistAre you in a position to say, Bernard, whether the consultations she had beforehand were on whether she should fight in the event of a second ballot, or step down, or simply how to fight on?
Bernard InghamNo. She promised people - she promised the people that she was working with, and who were working for her, that she would go to a second ballot, and that was it. And she is fulfilling her promise.
JournalistSo it was never, should I - she did not consult on that?
JournalistAre you in a position to say yet whether or who her nominees in the second ballot will be?
Bernard InghamNo, I’m not. No.
JournalistCan you - hello? - can you tell us if Mr Hurd is definitely not going to stand?
Bernard InghamMr Hurd gave the Prime Minister has full support, so I understand has the Chancellor.
JournalistWell, the Chancellor has declared he will not stand. [19.00]
Bernard InghamWell, I’m sorry, I have spoken to them, bearing in mind that you are up to no good. I have spoken to the Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Secretary indicated to me that he had indeed declared his full support for the Prime Minister.
JournalistThat’s a different thing.
Bernard InghamNo, well …
JournalistThat’s a holding card.
Bernard InghamNo, I don’t believe it, but never mind.
Journalist[inaudible till microphone reaches him] … he has not said - Mr Hurd has not said that he will not …
Bernard InghamHe has declared his full support for the Prime Minister.
JournalistBut he has not said that he will not.
Bernard InghamHe declared his full support.
JournalistAs I recall, the nominations for the first ballot came almost at once, didn’t they? We were told immediately that Mr Hurd and Mr Major would be nominating her. Why the delay this time?
Bernard InghamWell, we are in Paris, it is late at night, they have been to the ballet, they have been to Versailles. What do you want, blood? [tape at 20.00] [Laughter]
Same JournalistYou are sure that those will be her nominees?
Bernard InghamI don’t know who will be her nominees. What she has done is, she has declared her intention to fight the second round, and as I understand the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor have declared their full support.
Same JournalistWhen do you expect to know though?
Bernard InghamI don’t know.
Same JournalistSorry to pursue this, but it is very important.
Bernard InghamWell, it may well be to you, it isn’t to me.
Same JournalistWell, no, but it will be important to the MPs won’t it? These are the two most substantial figures in the party after herself.
Bernard InghamWhat is important to the MPs is that they know that she is going to stand. [Inaudible question] Well, all right.
Peter Allen, ITNBernard, you said she had contingency plans for any result which actually occurred. I just wondered - was a bare majority always going to be enough for her to say “yes, I will carry on?”
Bernard InghamYeah. You win by the rules. That is what she said before she started, before somebody else started. [21.00]
JournalistIf for example things should go awry, would you write a history of what has occurred eleven years.
Bernard InghamThat is a totally hypothetical question and we do not allow such hypothetical questions on my, um …
Same JournalistBut would it be - would it not be full of wit and humour?
Bernard InghamWit and humour - I am full of wit and humour.
Same JournalistExactly. That is why I asked the question. I mean, we would love to read what you had to write about the last eleven years. [Laughter]
Bernard InghamYou encourage me. [Loud laughter]
Same JournalistIndeed, indeed. [Laughter]
Bernard InghamWill you buy it? [Laughter, Ingham joining]
Bernard InghamWell, there you are. Yeah, at least we got one. [Laughter]
JournalistFor the sake of saving what was a good headline, did she actually get there in time for the start of the ballet.
Bernard InghamWell, that was my understanding, yeah. Yeah.
Same JournalistShe wasn’t late at all? [tape at 22.00]
Bernard InghamNot late for the ball, dear boy, no. [Laughter, inaudible words also] Ruined it, but never mind. [Pause] Well, you’ve all enjoyed yourselves, so have I. Is that all right? [Inaudible words] Tomorrow is tomorrow. I mean …
JournalistWill there be another briefing tomorrow?
Bernard InghamI would hope not. I think I work too hard actually and …
JournalistHas the Prime Minister said anything more about the result?
Bernard InghamNo, no.
Journalist… to her companions, you know, or anybody else?
Bernard InghamNot that I’m aware of.
JournalistIs she happy tonight?
Bernard InghamShe is disappointed.
Bernard InghamNope. [22.48]
Journalist[Inaudible then mic arrives] Did any of her counterparts at the dinner say anything to her?
Bernard InghamI don’t know. I didn’t ask, quite frankly. I mean, I think that is a matter for them.
Female Journalist[Words inaudible; given the mic] … I thought I didn’t need it. [Laughter]
Bernard InghamYou don’t.
Same Journalist… Not at this time of night. [Laughter] Even though you are saying the Prime Minister wants to get back to London to prepare for her …
Bernard InghamWell, she has a statement to make.
Same JournalistYes, of course. But there was the suggestion that there would be a press conference …
Bernard InghamAh no, we are abandoning it. Quite … quite bluntly, I am abandoning it.
Bernard InghamBecause I don’t think she should do it. She should go back and look after the House.
Same JournalistBut did Mrs. Thatcher - as you’ve made clear and she herself made clear this evening - wants to come out fighting [sic]?
Bernard InghamWell, what makes you think she won’t?
Same JournalistThe press conference …
Bernard InghamOh, for heaven’s sake. We don’t fight you lot. No. I mean, I do that. [Loud laughter] [tape at 24.00]
JournalistWhat are the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary discussing? Are they talking about the …
Bernard InghamNo, they are talking about the speech for the debate.
Same JournalistOn Thursday?
Same JournalistAnd tomorrow’s statement?
Bernard InghamNo, not really. I mean I think tomorrow’s statement is much more straightforward. I mean, you know, that is more or less written now, bearing in mind the events.
Same JournalistKinnock presumably will open for Labour, she will speak for the Government.
Same JournalistWill she wind up?
Bernard InghamI doubt it, but I can’t tell you who will wind up at this stage.
JournalistIt is already half past one, or getting on for half past one local time, twenty past one. How late do you expect her to be up?
Bernard InghamOh, not much longer now.
JournalistThe debate on no confidence will be Thursday?
Bernard InghamI think so, mm. Although has it been announced in London? What I’m not clear about. I think it is. [tape at 25.00]
Journalist[Question inaudible] Does that debate …
Bernard InghamNo. For heaven’s sake, when you’ve done eleven and a half years, I mean you are a pretty seasoned campaigner. Battle-hardened I think is the word. You know.
Journalist[Question inaudible; some laughter]
Bernard InghamThat was the last question on my mind, if I may say so. [General laughter, Ingham joining] Ok. You have had enough, go on.
JournalistNothing more for tomorrow …
Bernard InghamNo, I mean the events will … [tape ends]