Jonathan Aitken: An 'insecure' Margaret Thatcher ‘promoted handsome male MPs’
Margaret Thatcher was a “surprisingly insecure” woman who promoted male MPs based on their good looks, according to Jonathan Aitken.
The former Conservative MP, whose biography of the late Prime Minister was published last autumn, told The Independent Bath Literature Festival that Baroness Thatcher was “very influenced by male good looks”.
“If you look closely at some of her promotions in the Cabinet there are quite a few who made it because they were good-looking. Cecil Parkinson was one. John Moore. Humphrey Atkins. She liked handsome men,” he said.
Baroness Thatcher’s eye also influenced her foreign policy, he said. “She did not like the reptilian Giscard d’Estaing but she liked François Mitterrand, who looked like a film star.”
Her relationship with Ronald Reagan was similarly helped along by his attractive appearance, said Aitken.
Asked why he had not benefited from Baroness Thatcher’s policy himself, Aitken cited his failed three-year relationship with Carol Thatcher. It was not, he said, his “greatest career move” to date the Prime Minister’s daughter.
“But when you’re young you make all kinds of mistakes,” he said. “She was definitely angry with me for quite a long time. But I was also far too cocky for my own good.”
Aitken said that his book, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality, is the first to delve into the leader’s later years and “the bit where she goes off the rails”. He describes the leader as bullying, insufferably rude, hubristic and a bigot who never recovered after leaving 10 Downing Street. “She remained pretty bitter for the rest of her life”, he said.
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