Letter: The incredible Lamont

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is not the Prime Minister who decides who holds cabinet positions but the acceptance of these ministers by the key audiences upon whom they depend. The real reason Norman Lamont had to go was not that he was 'brought down by the media' but that the media reflected general public opinion and much private advice to Mr Major that Mr Lamont had ceased to be credible - certainly after the ERM debacle. We are seeing the same confusion that existed around David Mellor and it is ironic that many journalists should use him to comment on the downfall of Mr Lamont.

At the highest levels in UK industry, there have been very cold attitudes towards Mr Lamont and this has made it impossible to get the essential business/public consensus that would have allowed him to succeed. The concept of public credibility seems to be a factor that completely eludes the Prime Minister. He claims to be loyal to colleagues but many interpret this as a hesitancy to take decisive action, which can only reinforce perceptions of lack of leadership.

Certainly, no one at the top in industry with the lack of credibility that Mr Lamont achieved could have expected to have lasted days, let alone months.

Yours faithfully,


London, SW19

28 May

The writer is a past chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.