Dear Prime Minister,
When you called me back to the Government, like (in one of our mutual passions) a retired cricketer to the Test team, you gave me an Indian summer which ensured an exception to the rule that all political careers end in tears. I have enormously enjoyed returning to the colours and I leave with some in my various Departmental constituencies genuinely wanting me to stay: as with an after dinner speech, it is always best to stop while at least some of our audience still want you to go on.
To serve in Government from the age of 45 to 60 has employed one's most productive years but a life is always worth much more than a living; and, the office of Member of Parliament being itself a privilege, I look forward to supporting both the Government and my successor from behind you.
With remembrances to Norma and from Lindsay,
The letter from John MacGregor, former Secretary of State for Transport:
I told you earlier in the summer that I would wish to leave the Government well before the end of this Parliament. You had indicated that the reshuffle you are carrying out now is intended to provide the team for the period up to the next Election. Accordingly this is an appropriate moment for me to give up my Ministerial responsibilities.
I have had a long innings. It has been a great privilege to serve since 1979 under two outstanding Prime Ministers, and for nine years in the Cabinet. I shall always be proud to have been involved in our many significant achievements, and in the reforms which have so improved our economic competitiveness and entrepreneurial qualities, raised our living standards and widened our horizons, and brought about the much wider spread of ownership and opportunity; and in securing Britain's future in Europe as a leading and constructive member of the European Union. These are all things I came into politics for and passionately believe in.
I am most grateful for the friendship and support you have shown me. You can be assured that I will back you to the hilt as you carry forward our policies which I am confident will be successful in taking us to our fifth consecutive election victory.
With every best wish,
The letter from Lord Wakeham, outgoing Lord Privy Seal:
I made it clear to you some time ago that I was ready to step down from the Government at a time convenient to you, and I now look forward to pursuing my other interests.
I have been in the Government since 1979, and have been privileged to serve in Margaret Thatcher's and your administration in a wide range of interesting posts. Much of my career has been in managing the Government's business programme in both Houses of Parliament but I especially enjoyed my time as Secretary of State for Energy and the challenging task of privatising the electricity industry. I remember with particular pleasure the years when we worked together closely in the Whip's Office.
I will always be grateful to you for your kindness and support in looking after my constituents in the months after the Brighton bomb whilst I was in hospital.
I send you and the Government my best wishes and you know that you can always rely on my support.
The letter from John Patten, former Secretary of State for Education
My dear Prime Minister,
When we met last night, you explained that you no longer wished me to remain as Secretary of State for Education, and I am writing to say how glad I have been to serve in Her Majesty's Government.
With my best wishes for the future,