We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

UK Politics

John Biffen’s withering verdict on Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet meetings: 'Miserably disappointing' gatherings full of 'unctuous self-satisfaction'


Cabinet meetings under Margaret Thatcher were “miserably disappointing” gatherings devoid of debate and filled with “unctuous self-satisfaction”, one her most senior ministers said in 1984.

John Biffen, an economic liberal whose views had inspired Thatcher in opposition, proved less amenable once she reached Downing Street.

While leader of the House of Commons, Biffen was upbraided on the orders of No 10 after a damning briefing about cabinet discussions found its way into the press.

Biffen was sacked from the cabinet after the 1987 general election.

More freshly released information from the National archives: