The Cabinet Reshuffle: Confidence and praise in two ways of saying farewell

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The Independent Online
NORMAN LAMONT said in a statement: 'It has been a great privilege to serve my country in successive Conservative governments and for the last two-and-a- half years as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have always been willing to be judged on my record. I believe the success of the policies I have put in place will become increasingly clear with the passage of time. I do not intend to make any further comment for several weeks and I hope that for once the Press will allow my family some privacy in the weeks ahead.'

The Prime Minister's letter to Mr Lamont read:

Dear Norman,

'I told you this morning that I had decided to make some changes to the Government. I had hoped that you would feel able to remain as a senior member of the Cabinet, but I respect and accept your decision not to stay on.

'I believe the economic policies you have followed as Chancellor will be seen to have created the conditions for renewed and sustainable economic growth in this country.

'You have served with distinction in successive governments since 1979.

'You have made a significant contribution to economic and financial policy, first as Financial Secretary to the Treasury, then as Chief Secretary and since 1990, as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

'You steered through some of our major privatisations. You have not hesitated to take difficult decisions on public spending and you have presented three tax-reforming budgets - including the second one, which did so much to help us win the last election.

'You shared with me an overriding objective as Chancellor to bring down inflation and you have succeeded in reducing it to its lowest rate for nearly 30 years. That has been an outstanding achievement.

'Norma joins me in sending our best wishes to you and to Rosemary who has supported you wonderfully through a difficult time.

'Yours Ever, John.'