Major ordered destruction of `loopy' Thatcher
Monday 20 September 1999
Memoirs written by Judith Chaplin, who worked for Mr Major when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister between 1989 and 1992, also reveal how Mr Major described Mrs Thatcher as "mad", "loopy" and "emotional". The diaries have emerged just weeks before the release of Mr Major's autobiography, and both publications will ensure that his legacy as Tory Prime Minister will come under closer scrutiny.
During her time in Downing Street, Ms Chaplin was a dominant figure in what became known as his "kitchen cabinet", and became Tory MP for Newbury in the 1992 election. She died the following year during a routine operation.
The diaries, published in The Sunday Telegraph, show the"grey man" of British politics was an insecure pragmatist, concerned only with his own position. On the day after Mr Major became Prime Minister in November 1990, Ms Chaplin reflected: "He is certainly tough enough. It is possible to understand if you recognise that every decision is taken on how it affects him and promotes him." By March 1991 Ms Chaplin was concerned about the direction, or lack of it, of the Major government. "It is worrying that he has no underlying conviction about the way he wants policies to go - pragmatic to a fault," she wrote.
And the "nice man" image also takes a patronising, back-handed blow. "JM is a nice man but pitch-forked in with no clear principles about what he is trying to achieve ... It makes me feel nervous."
The following month Ms Chaplin wrote about the amount of time wasted in dealing with what the media has said about him. "He cannot bear to be criticised and takes it as a personal slight: he is obsessed by his image and will have to get a tougher skin," she wrote.
But it was when this criticism came from Mrs Thatcher that his reactions became the most extreme. After her apparent coining of the phrase "grey man" in June 1991 and attacking him for having "no ideas", although she denied saying it, he told his press secretary: "I want her isolated, I want her destroyed."
The diaries continue: "He [Mr Major] has been to see her but obviously says one thing to her face and something different behind her back. He often makes foul remarks about her - `mad', `loopy', `emotional' - very unattractive considering what he owes her."
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...