Thatcher to name Clarke as 'traitor': Attack on 'assassins' threatens effort to end Tory conflict. Colin Brown reports

THE BITTERNESS felt by Baroness Thatcher about her downfall at the hands of her own Cabinet spilled out at the weekend, raising fresh doubts about John Major's ability to end the feuding in the Conservative Party.

One source who has seen Lady Thatcher's memoirs said she was excoriating about the 'traitors' in the Cabinet who brought her down. She names Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, as a key player in what her supporters call her 'assassination'.

Her account, and an associated BBC series, Thatcher: the Downing Street Years, is certain to put renewed pressure on the Prime Minister as he tries to pull the party together after its battles over Maastricht. Mr Major escapes direct blame for Lady Thatcher's downfall, although she is said to have damned his performance as Prime Minister by faint praise.

However, her allies have cast doubts on Mr Major's role. Alan Clark, the former defence minister, said in his memoirs: 'Her sense of betrayal is absolute, overrides everything. Lamont had been scheming. Patten plotted the whole thing. Kenneth Clarke had led the rout from the Cabinet room. Rifkind was a weasel. Even John Major . . . is by no means cloud-free.'

Lady Thatcher has tried to avoid the charge of sabotaging the annual conference in Blackpool by delaying publication of her book until 18 October, a week after the party conference.

But the bile began to leak out yesterday with the publication of an account of the downfall in the memoirs of Kenneth Baker, the former Conservative Party chairman.

Mr Baker accused Mr Major of ignoring an appeal by Lady Thatcher's allies to rally support behind her in an extract from his memoirs, The Turbulent Years, in the Sunday Times.

Mr Major seconded her ballot papers for the leadership election but Mr Baker said Mr Major, recuperating after an operation for the removal of a wisdom tooth, remained 'literally silent on Margaret's behalf'.

After Lady Thatcher failed to win outright in the first ballot, Mr Baker said he was confronted by five Cabinet ministers, whom he called 'the frightened five', who wanted her to stand down. They were Norman Lamont, Chris Patten, William Waldegrave, Malcolm Rifkind, and Tony Newton. 'Lamont acted as spokesman and said it was their unanimous view that 'Margaret should withdraw'. The clear impression I got was that they were searching for an executioner.'

Mr Baker's implied criticism of Mr Major was dismissed as 'for the birds' by Sir Bernard Ingham, Lady Thatcher's former press secretary. Some Tory MPs said that Mr Baker was settling old scores. He resigned from John Major's Cabinet when he refused to be demoted to Secretary of State for Wales from Home Secretary - the job given to Mr Clarke.

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Deputy Education Manager

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Deputy Education Manager (permanent ...

Science Teacher Urgently required for October start

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

ICT Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Group: We are looking for an outstandi...

Art & Design Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Group: We are looking for an outstandi...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering