The Tories in Bournemouth: Lamont rides the Underground in recovery position: Ex-Chancellor at heart of latest Euro-split laughs off claims he is a bitter hermit
Thursday 13 October 1994
This remains, however, an exceptional experience in the 16 months since the burdens of office were abruptly lifted from him. After 14 years of being driven everywhere by ministerial car, Mr Lamont - who usually travels to the City by Tube - has found members of the public curiously friendly now he is no longer directly responsible for the government's economic policy.
He even told a friend the other day that a down-and- out, brandishing a half- empty bottle, had shouted across to him: 'It's all going right now, Mr Lamont, but someone else is taking the credit.'
There are, in other words, compensations for no longer being Chancellor, much as he still entertains hopes of one day assuming office again. And they go further than having the freedom to appall his former colleagues by thinking the 'unthinkable' on Europe, as he did on Tuesday.
For one thing, he is busy making a lot more money than he ever did as a Cabinet minister, probably well in excess of pounds 100,000 a year. He is a non-executive director not only of N M Rothschild, where he has an office which he visits most days, but also of the investment fund managers Jupiter Tyndall, where is chairman of its Taiwan investment arm. He is off to Taiwan and the Philippines next week.
At the same time he can command large sums on the international business seminar circuit; in the last few weeks he has flown to Bahrain to address a conference of bankers; he was a key speaker at a London conference of 600 Italian bankers en route for the International Monetary Fund conference in Madrid; and he was an equally prominent contributor to a recent conference on privatisation in Canada. He even tried out of most of Tuesday's speech to a meeting of Yorkshire businessmen.
He sees more of his son and daughter, and while his wife, Rosemary, might prefer a slightly quieter life, she throughly agrees with his views.
According to friends, he is enjoying himself and is baffled by his depiction by opponents as an embittered hermit. He talks frequently to young Euro-sceptic MPs like Alan Duncan and Ian Duncan Smith; but he also socialises regularly with Michael Howard and Peter Lilley, and sometimes with Jonathan Aitken and Michael Portillo - though asssociates insist he did not discuss the speech with them.
Mr Lamont's big problem, of course, is how to stay in politics, given that his Kingston constituency is virtually certain to disappear under boundary reorganisation. He has consistently denied that his frequent trips to Yorkshire, where his wife's family live, have anything to do with the creation of the new and safe - insofar as any Tory seat is safe now - seat of Vale of York, and adds he has not yet focused on the issue of finding a suitable constituency. He has also let it be known that, contrary to rumour, he is not thinking of joining the Ulster Unionists.
Whether Tuesday's speech, raising the stakes so dramatically on Europe, helps or hinders him in finding his seat will say a good deal about the current state of the Tory party.
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
North Korea calls Barack Obama 'a monkey' in latest attack as 'The Interview' row festers
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...