Hirst: 'I am desolated to have failed you'

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The Independent Online
Text of the resignation letter from Sir Michael Hirst to John Major

AS a result of past indiscretion in my private life, I feel that my position as Chairman of the Scottish Party could become untenable and I write accordingly to ask you to accept my resignation with immediate effect.

I very deeply regret these circumstances which have caused great distress to my family and which may, I fear, cause embarrassment to the Party in the current climate.

I have been privileged to serve as Chairman for four years and am grateful for your interest in and support of Scotland and the Scottish party. I have done my level best to build an organisation in Scottish Central Office which will secure greater Conservative representation on 1 May. I will not allow a personal deficiency on my part to put all this at risk. I consider that only by taking immediate action to resign can I hope to minimise the damage to my family and to the Party which I have been proud to serve for many years.

I know that you will understand that my principal concern is for Naomi and our family, who have always been such a support to me, and who are continuing to sustain me with their love and understanding ...

I am desolated to have failed you and all my colleagues in the Scottish Party at such a time.

Mr Major's reply to Sir Michael

I WAS so very sorry both on personal and political grounds to see your letter ... however, I fully understand your position and support the decision you have made so speedily and in such a courageous and honourable manner.

Over many years you have made a huge contribution to the Party both within Parliament and as Chairman in Scotland. Your enthusiasm and dedication to our cause has always been outstanding and I know your resignation will be received with much sadness by your many friends in Scotland ...Norma and I send you and Naomi our very best wishes...

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