Baroness Thatcher wanted UK to withdraw from EU, says biographer

 

Baroness Thatcher believed that Britain should withdraw from the European Union but was persuaded by her advisors to remain silent, it emerged.

Charles Moore, Lady Thatcher’s official biographer, who spent ten years working on the project with the co-operation of the former Prime Minister, revealed her hitherto unknown views during an interview organised by The Spectator Magazine.

Writing in this week’s edition he said he had been asked by the former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil about her views on Europe after she left office.

“He asked me if, after leaving office, Lady Thatcher had come to the view that Britain should leave the European Union,” he wrote.

“I said yes (I think it happened after the Maastricht Treaty in 1992), although advisers had persuaded her that she should not say this in public since it would have allowed her opponents to drive her to the fringes of public life.”

But Mr Moore, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, appeared unaware that what he had said was previously unknown.

“I had believed this was widely known, but according to Andrew, it is a story,” he added, before stating that he believed it showed that she was ahead of her time in seeing the current debate on Britain’s membership of the EU.

“My revelation, if such it was, came on the same day as Nigel Lawson’s piece in the Times saying that he would now vote for Britain to leave the EU. 

“In this year, the 25th anniversary of (Thatcher’s) Bruges speech, people can see much more clearly that, far from living in ‘a ghetto of sentimentality about the past’ she was thinking harder than her contemporaries about the future of Europe.”

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