Parliament and Politics: Parkinson reveals reasons for his return to Cabinet

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

LORD PARKINSON has explained how he rejoined Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet in 1987, four years after a sex scandal had forced his resignation, in order to rid himself of the tag 'disgraced former Cabinet minister', writes Stephen Goodwin.

'It was essential for me to go back, not just for my benefit but for the kids. Horrid to read your father described like that,' he says in The Cecil Parkinson Story, to be shown on BBC2 on Saturday. Lord Parkinson's resignation overshadowed the 1983 Conservative Party conference, which should have been a celebration of the election victory. He had had a love affair with his former secretary, Sara Keays, promised to marry her and then changed his mind. 'I'd thought about it very carefully, and discussed it fully with my family. And came to the conclusion that this was the best answer for us all,' he says.

Lord Parkinson has few criticisms of his former leader. He thinks, however, that Mrs Thatcher's 1989 remark that he and the other senior Cabinet ministers were unworthy of succeeding her, was 'pretty thoughtless'.