You can read the full profile of Frank Field HERE.
Two nights before Mrs Thatcher lost office in 1990, Field — convinced few Tories had the guts to tell her the game was up — decided to visit Downing Street and tell her himself. “For some extraordinary reason, I used to have — and still do — a good relationship with her.” Informed that the PM was busy, he settled in a waiting room. After a while Norman Tebbit entered: “Frank, what do you want?” “I’ve come to tell the PM she’s finished. I suppose you won’t let me see her.” Shortly afterwards, Mrs T herself appeared, “trembling”, recalls Field, “as I imagine people do when told they have inoperable cancer.” Field found her a chair. “Frank, why have you come?” she asked in quavering tones. “I’ve come to tell you that you are finished. I’m not discussing fairness, Prime Minister, I’m discussing the options. You cannot now go on a top note, but you can go on a high note.” He told her that Michael Heseltine, who was leading the drive to unseat her, was vacuuming up MPs’ support in the race to be her successor. “Oh, Mr Heseltine is a dreadful bad man,” she said wearily. Field urged her to get her candidate in the race, and when she asked who that would be, said: “It’s obvious, Prime Minister. It’s the person you’ve promoted to all these offices — John Major.” “Major? He’s a very young man, Frank.”
“Time will take care of his age, Prime Minister, but if you don’t have your candidate, your successor will be Heseltine.”
Field was smuggled out the back way and no word of his visit was released to the press; we know, of course, how the story ended.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Frank Field: My Part in Maggie's Downfall
A fascinating anecdote from the interview with Frank Field in yesterday's Sunday Times Magazine. Apparently he went to see Margaret Thatcher two days before her resignation. I have read virtually every book there is to read detailing the events of those terrible few days, but this was new to me...