Drama about Margaret Thatcher's fall from power. As Thatcher prepares for the Lord Mayor's banquet, Geoffrey Howe pens the resignation speech that will seal her fate.
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This programme contains some strong language from the start
Prime Minister, you look to die for.
To die for? Is that good? Is that an expression?
We understand that Geoffrey will be making a resignation statement tomorrow after PMQs.
Thank you, Charles. Now, if you don't mind, we girls are rather busy.
-Prime Minister, if you don't mind my saying...
You must hold your head up or you'll get lost in the ruff.
-Mustn't tilt forward.
The Prime Minister does not tilt.
I just wanted to say how sorry I am about all this.
-Thank you, Michael.
I know it only too well myself, of course.
The thing is...erm...
things being what they are now...
um...I'm thinking of sending...
an open letter to my constituency supporting you in your resignation -
Europe, Cabinet government and so forth.
Michael, I should say that my resignation is not intended
-as a prelude to my standing for the leadership, if that's what you were wondering.
That remains my position at present as well.
were I to stand...I mean...
were that eventuality to arise...
could I...would I be able to count on your support?
Were that to arise?
Michael, I think my position is probably best left uncluttered by commitments of that kind.
Of course, of course.
should I have any further message to convey at a later stage, then I shall of course do so.
Yes, of course.
Thank you, Geoffrey.
What the fuck does that mean?
Since I first went into bat 11 years ago,
the score at your end has ticked over nicely.
You are the 663rd Lord Mayor.
At the Prime Minister's end we are stuck on 49.
I am still at the crease, though the bowling has been pretty hostile of late.
And in case anyone doubted it, can I assure you,
there will be no ducking the bouncers,
no stonewalling, no playing for time.
The bowling's going to get hit all round the ground. That's my style.
RADIO: Headlines this lunchtime, MPs are gathering in parliament
for the resignation speech of the former Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe.
The Prime Minister is travelling to the Commons as we speak.
Sir Geoffrey served as her Foreign Secretary for six years.
His resignation follows growing tension in the Cabinet over the divisive issue of Europe.
SHOUTING BELL TOLLS
I remind the House that a resignation statement is heard in silence
and without interruption.
Sir Geoffrey Howe.
A quarter of a century has passed since I last spoke from one of the back benches.
Since then, the Prime Minister and I have enjoyed something like
700 meetings of cabinet and Shadow Cabinet during the past 18 years.
It was a pleasure to serve as my Right Honourable friend's Chancellor of the Exchequer,
to share in the transformation of our industrial relations
and to help launch our free-market programme.
It was a great honour to serve for six years as Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary.
And, therefore, the House might well feel that something more than
simple matters of style would be necessary to rupture such a well-tried relationship.
It was the late Lord Stockton, formerly Harold Macmillan, who first put the central point clearly.
He saw it as essential then as it is today
not to cut ourselves off from the realities of power,
not to retreat into a ghetto of sentimentality about our past
and so diminish our own control over our own destiny in the future.
The tragedy is -
and it is for me personally, for my party,
for our whole people
and for my Right Honourable friend herself, a very real tragedy -
that the Prime Minister's perceived attitude towards Europe
is running serious risks for the future of our nation.
I hope there is no monopoly on cricketing metaphors.
It is rather like sending your opening batsman to the crease
only for them to find, the moment the first balls are bowled,
that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.
The conflict of loyalty,
of loyalty to my Right Honourable friend, the Prime Minister,
and of loyalty to what I perceive to be the true interests of the nation has become all too great.
I no longer believe it possible to resolve that conflict from within this government.
That is why I have resigned.
In doing so I have done what I believe to be right for my party and for my country.
The time has come for others to consider their own response
to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled
for perhaps too long.
I remember Harold MacMillan saying to me at Conference once,
"For God's sake, Geoffrey, do something political."
I didn't think he had that in him.
Pity he was never that sharp with the Opposition.
-Shall we let him have it?
-No. Don't attack what he said. Not now.
It's much wiser just to express sadness and regret, I think.
It's Heseltine, he must have put him up to this.
-All that business about "others and their conflict of loyalties".
-He'll stand now. He has to.
I still don't think he's got the balls. It's...
Loyalty?! He talks of loyalty?
Conflict of loyalty? What about loyalty to me?!
-Not a flicker.
-How could he? How could he do that?
Fatty Lawson slumped next to him like a sack of beetroot.
Carol called, sent love.
I hope people are not going to start rallying round.
As though any of this were to be taken seriously.
Goodness me, we've fought much bigger battles than this and won.
Did Mark call? I expect he's busy.
Like the rest of us should be, getting on with our jobs.
-What's the mood?
-They know who I am. What I've done.
Be careful, love. They scent blood.
Bernard and Charles are waiting. These things are such a distraction.
There's a lasagne in the fridge I've ear-marked for tonight.
-Unless you're out?
-They scent blood.
If there's any blood to be spilt, it will most certainly not be mine.
They wouldn't dare.
They'll crucify you!
This is the Tory party, for God's sake!
They're not going to let a woman run the show.
Love, love, think about it.
If you lose, that'll be it.
You won't come back. The whole bangshoot, gone. Kaput!
Chancellor, you said, that was always the goal.
There's never been a woman Chancellor.
But leader of the party? They'll take you to the bloody cleaners.
Someone has got to stand. If no-one else will, then I must.
I don't have a choice.
Of course you've got a choice, woman!
No! We've all held back long enough.
For Ted's sake. For unity, for the sake of the Party. And for what?
-We've lost two elections in a year, the country's practically on its knees.
-Sod the country!
I don't give a toss about the country or Ted bloody Heath. What about us? The family? Me?
I retire next year, love.
I don't know how much more of all this I can stand.
I can't do this without you.
I couldn't have done any of it without you.
But I am going to stand.
Christ, I need a drink.
Mr Heath's office.
-I've got an appointment for 11.
-Just go on through.
I thought it right to inform you, personally.
I feel that someone from my wing of the Party should stand.
If you must.
You'll lose, of course.
No, no. Nothing important.
Rather absurd actually.
I am persuaded I would now have a better prospect than Mrs Thatcher
of leading the Conservatives into a fourth electoral victory
and prevent the calamity of a Labour government.
I have, accordingly, informed the Chief Whip, Tim Renton, and the Chairman...
HE SWITCHES TV OFF
Prime Minister, we'll need to sort out your nomination papers.
How dare he? A sitting Prime Minister.
And Cranley Onslow has requested a meeting to confirm the date of the ballot.
But won't you be in Paris on the 20th?
Yes, the CSCE Summit.
-You remember, of course, what the CSCE Summit is, Cranley?
Yes. The Cold War thing.
The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Cranley.
President Bush, President Gorbachev, Chancellor Kohl, President Mitterrand
and myself will be meeting to celebrate the end of the "Cold War thing", as you so quaintly put it.
I think our time is better spent organising the fall of socialism
than going cap in hand around tea-rooms importuning backbenchers,
most of whom would not be where they are today were it not for us anyway.
Wouldn't you agree?
The 20th it is, Prime Minister.
Re-elected as Chairman of the 1922 Committee.
Thank you, Prime Minister.
Unopposed, I understand?
That's what I call an election.
I imagine, Prime Minister, you'll be wanting one or two Cabinet figures to propose and second you?
Douglas Hurd? John Major?
Yes, good. United in support.
And make it public, I'd have thought.
I'll start to get them round the studios.
The big guns should help to see this off.
Douglas and John will stay onside. Anything else is inconceivable.
Could be just what she needs.
gets a bit of a shock,
becomes more manageable,
we squeeze through the next election,
-and then she can go of her own free will.
-Do you think she ever would?
-Of her own free will?
Surely even she would see the sense in that.
I imagine in the event you would be the Party's favoured unity candidate.
Do you think?
-Oh, I would never presume.
No, of course.
Anyway, I'm afraid I shall have to leave you all to it for a few days.
Infected wisdom teeth, spot of minor surgery required.
So you'll be off limits?
Only for a few days. We must keep in touch though.
Oh, no, no - on me, Douglas. I insist.
You're the Chancellor.
So we think between 230 and 240 for you, Prime Minister,
and Michael less than 100, which gives you a clear cut victory in the first ballot.
Thank you, Peter.
I don't want to be churlish or anything, Margaret,
but I think those figures might be a little optimistic.
Trust me, Kenneth, I've done the tea rooms. People are very positive.
I've already got Michael in excess of 120, possibly as high as 150 and 40 abstentions.
That would mean a second ballot.
Are we sure about this Paris thing, Margaret?
Is that wise? I'd have thought a few phone calls, the odd visit...
Gordon, if we pull out of Paris now, we'll be accused of running scared. No, the decision is made.
Surely what we should be discussing now is how to unite the Party once we've won?
Trust me. All in here.
MEN TALK QUIETLY AMONG THEMSELVES
Come along, everyone. Lunch will be getting cold.
Yes, dear. Mind your feet.
-I didn't know he was a supporter.
-Neither did I.
But it seems he wants to see the back of Ted almost as much as we do and I'm his best chance.
He's got all kinds of plots in mind.
Well, I suppose if he got out of Colditz...
-Must we have all this in here?
-As long as you keep out of the way, there won't be a problem.
Come along, dear, I'm sure there's plenty you can be getting on with.
The backbenches, that's where Ted's weakness lies.
They want him out.
We have to get you in amongst them a bit more.
You don't visit the tea rooms enough.
-I've got a husband, Airey, family. I simply don't have time for all that.
-You're going to have to make time.
'Small groups at a time.'
I want you to meet Rupert.
-Rupert, can I introduce Mrs Thatcher?
-Rupert, what a pleasure.
-This is Henry.
'Your votes are with the small fry.
'They want a leadership that listens.
'You're a woman.
'Everyone's playing it as though it's a disadvantage. I'm not so sure
'and I think we need to take off a few of those sharp edges.
'not exactly feminist.'
What people don't realise about me
is that I am a very ordinary person
-who leads a very ordinary life.
No. You're doing the teaching thing again.
Just say it.
"I'm a very ordinary person who leads a very ordinary life."
-I'm a very ordinary person...
Now you sound like Joyce Grenfell.
Relax, be natural. It sounds like you've got one of those bloody hats of yours down your throat.
-What's wrong with my hats?
Nothing at all. They're great hats.
You just have to stop wearing them. Not sure about the pearls either.
-I am not losing my pearls!
-Beautiful pearls, don't get me wrong, but such a cliche.
-Playing into their hands. Twin set and pearls. Tory lady.
-They were a present from Denis!
Oh, God, now you're shrieking again. Sweet. Gentle.
Softly, softly, catchy Tory.
I am not a Tory lady. For goodness sake, my father was a grocer.
Exactly! And that's what we've got to get out there.
It'll do you a damn sight more good than those bloody hats.
OK. We'll give it a rest.
We will do it. Now! Again! Sit down, please. We will do it.
What people don't realise about me
is that I'm a very ordinary person...
That's better. Slower. Warmer.
Chest voice. Open throat.
..who leads a very ordinary life.
We think we've got 120 pledges for you
with Ted at less than 80.
If it's true, it's the end of him.
But no-one must know about these figures.
We tell them we think we may have 70 maximum.
What we have to do now is quietly convince certain people that you can't win
at the same time as you are fighting your heart out knowing that you just might.
Does that make sense?
You must understand, Margaret, you are an act of rebellion for some of them,
an act of revenge for others, a means to an end for most.
For nearly all of them, you are simply a way of getting Heath out.
The woman doing the men's dirty work. Expendable.
You're up against Healey, aren't you, in a couple of days?
Capital transfer tax. I'm leading.
Healey's a bully.
He's bullied Ted, he's bullied Carr.
They're waiting for someone to stand up to him.
No-one gives you a chance,
least of all Ted.
It's up to you now.
This is not our show any longer, Margaret.
It's up to you.
Mum, I'm off.
-Mum, I told you.
Everything's too mad here.
I've got my exams next week.
Sue's offered me her spare room again.
Well, don't be a stranger.
No, Mum. Thanks.
Good luck tomorrow.
You all right with this?
-Feel a bit like we're booting you out.
-No, it's fine.
-Are you all right?
Of course. It's all a bit of a pantomime at the moment,
but we'll get through.
The Right Honourable lady's speech is nothing but a defiant reassertion of birth and privilege.
She has clearly decided to tag her party as the party of the rich few
and herself as La Passionara of Privilege.
I believe that she and her party will regret it.
I wish I could say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done himself less than justice.
Unfortunately, I can only say that I believe he has done himself justice.
Hear, hear. Hear, hear.
Some Chancellors are macro-economic,
other Chancellors are fiscal,
this one is just plain cheap!
CHEERING AND SHOUTING
If this Chancellor can be Chancellor, anyone in the House of Commons can be Chancellor.
Capital transfer tax would affect not only the one in a thousand
to whom he referred, but everyone -
including people born like I was with no privilege at all!
Hear, hear! Hear, hear!
-Thank you. Thank you so much.
Was it all right?
I've never liked it in there, you know.
I've never felt comfortable.
It makes one feel so small.
Well, like a woman, I suppose.
You weren't small today.
I've spent so much time over the past few years
saying things I didn't believe in.
For Ted, for the party...
but not today.
It was a different feeling.
I felt like I belonged there.
KNOCKING ON DOOR
TV NEWS THEME PLAYS
NRESREADER: 'The Conservative Party has elected Margaret Thatcher as its new leader.
'Mrs Thatcher now becomes the first woman to lead a British political party.'
-Shall we go inside? Thank you.
Thank you! Thanks.
Thank you so much.
To my remarkable and wonderful mother!
Thank you, dear. Gosh, you do look smart.
Need a haircut as usual, of course.
Anything you say, Ma.
This is just the thing, eh? Just the bloody thing.
I hope you put a few bob on the filly.
I wish I had.
I never thought she'd win, you know?
Not the whole damn thing.
No. Neither did I.
-Sue, where's Carol?
She was whacked after the exams.
Oh, bugger! Her exams!
She all right?
Margaret promised she'd pop in on her if she could.
Probably a bit busy now.
Where is she?
On the right here. I expect she's asleep by now.
I promised, Sue. One must keep promises to one's children.
-What lovely wallpaper. Is that a Sanderson? In here?
Mum! Turn it off.
You'll sleep your life away, Carol.
Grandpa always said sleep was just a waste of valuable time.
I can't believe you won, Mum.
You should have more faith.
-I can't be surrounded by faint hearts.
-I'm so proud of you.
Mind my hair, dear.
Are you celebrating?
Everyone's getting very excited.
I just want to get down to work.
There's so much to be done.
Mark's loving it, of course.
He's so handsome now, isn't he?
You look bigger.
The hair, I expect.
Don't be silly.
I shall always be the same. Whatever happens.
Yes, I know.
You'd better get back to sleep.
-You've got exams to think about.
-I finished them, Mum.
Of course you did...
I'm sorry. It's been terribly hectic.
Yes, I know. It's OK.
-You'd better get back.
-Yes, I should.
Thanks for coming over, Mum.
Well, sleep tight.
Everything's fine. Thank you, Sue.
This wallpaper of yours, Sue...
-I do hope it's British.
NEWSREADER: 'As the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd
'leave for Paris for the CSCE summit, Mrs Thatcher remains confident of...'
NEWSREADER: 'Journalists are outside Westminster as Tory MPs decide
'who they will back in tomorrow's leadership contest.
'We go over now to political correspondent...'
'The Prime Minister said she'd not be diverted from representing Great Britain in critical international
'affairs and that she has left her campaign in safe hands.'
I don't suppose I could tempt you?
Not a chance.
-Loyal to the end, eh?
Enjoy the papers.
KNOCKING ON DOOR
-I must just have closed my eyes.
-Don't you think you should be canvassing?
We've got less than 24 hours.
-Quite all right, old boy, relax.
-All in here.
She's got it in the bag. No point in arm twisting.
Bound to be a few don't knows at this stage...
This isn't a fucking street canvas, Peter.
It's a two horse race, and each vote affects the relative score by two unless it's an abstention.
-What the hell does she think she's doing going to Paris?
-Winding up the Cold War, I believe.
So she's seen these, has she?
According to these polls, the party gets a 10% bigger approval rating with Heseltine as leader.
Chequers over the weekend, you know how it is,
only reads what Ingham shows her.
-For God's sake, pull your finger out!
We've got to fight. If we don't, she's fucked.
And if she's fucked, so am I.
And so are you.
HE SLAMS THE DOOR
Pollsters? Bunch of incompetent stirrers.
Never show her if I can help it.
The Mail and the Observer have come out against her.
And the Independent. And the Correspondent!
Tory MPs don't read that piffle.
The Times will be on-side. Rupert won't desert her.
I hope you're not getting twitchy, Peter.
Oh, no, not at all.
You know what she'd say, "Don't go wobbly on me now."
Morrison. Old woman.
Are we safe with him, do you think?
Even he can't cock this up.
'While MPs gather in London this evening to await the result
'of the Conservative Party leadership election, Mrs Thatcher and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd'
are due to attend a banquet to celebrate the final day
of the Cold War summit here in Paris.
-What bag have we got?
-It's the one you like, it's black.
Hello? Of course.
They're ready for you.
What time do they start?
Start what, dear?
I'm not sure.
Do you know, I'd forgotten it for a second?
Right. To battle.
Peter Morrison will cast your proxy vote then he's coming over for the result.
Wants to be here for the good news.
Such a fuss. And a dreadful waste of taxpayers' money, I'd have thought.
Beautiful earrings, Prime Minister. Have we seen those before?
Charles, you come with me.
Douglas can go with the ambassador. How's coverage, Bernard?
-They're assembling outside for the result.
-Not for the ballot. For the summit.
Yes. Yes, of course. We've got slots on all the lunchtime news.
You on the world stage, away from petty party business.
Bush, Gorbachev, President Mitterrand.
TV: 'We understand that President Bush has already left
-'under the strictest security measures...'
No-one's watching this. Not the people who matter. They're all out there.
'We're awaiting the Prime Minister's departure where she'll join other world leaders.'
THEY TALK LOUDLY
JOURNALISTS: Mr Morrison, Mr Morrison...
Peter's just arrived.
They've cleared a room for her...
and Charles and Bernard of course.
How are the teeth, by the way?
Oh, er, painful.
But I think I'll survive.
They're waiting for you downstairs.
We're expecting her any time.
Well, keep the line open, Tim.
Charles has got another line, for safe measure apparently.
-Everything set, Peter?
-Tim's on the other end. He sends a hug.
-I'd rather have his vote.
Just have to wait now, Prime Minister.
Yes, Peter. We have done this type of thing before.
TV: 'I understand that the Prime Minister is in a private suite along with her closest advisors.
'She will wait there for the ballot result which is expected imminently.'
I, Cranley Onslow,
as chairman of the 1922 Committee
hereby declare the following.
The result of the leadership ballot.
-Hello? Tim. Yes.
-I have the figures.
-Get me the Prime Minister.
-Let me take them down first.
-Peter, I'd like...
-All right, all right.
Not, I fear, as good as we'd hoped.
Tim. Does this mean a second ballot?
I'm afraid it does, Margaret.
204 to you, 152 to Michael,
16 abstentions. It's a good majority of the party,
but you just fall short of the 15% rule.
-By four votes, in fact.
-I'll talk to the press straightaway.
Of course. But you will use the words we agreed on? "It is your intention..."
We know what we have to do.
Careful, Prime Minister. Treacherous...
So it's confirmed, second ballot.
Will she stand?
Hang on, something's happening.
JOHN SERGEANT: '..give her the news directly.'
But I would have thought now there'll be a long series of consultations
-backwards and forwards.
-She's behind you, you pinko prat.
-Where's she going?
Prime Minister. Mrs Thatcher!
PRESS SHOUT QUESTIONS
What's she doing?
Good evening, good evening, gentlemen.
-Where's the microphone?
-Here it is.
I am naturally very pleased that I got more than half the parliamentary party.
Back off, woman, for God's sake.
-'Disappointed it's not quite enough to win on the first ballot.'
-What's she saying?
Gently does it...
So I confirm it is my intention to let my name go forward for the second ballot.
She's going on.
But it didn't look good.
..acknowledge that you don't enjoy the confidence of the party?
-Are you gonna resign?
-I have got more than half the votes for the parliamentary party.
-It was not quite 15% above those of Mr Heseltine...
-Mrs Thatcher, I...
I think it was about 14.6%.
So that means we have to go for a second ballot.
So I confirm that I will let my name go forward for the second ballot.
Now I must go and do some telephone calls.
Thank you very much, thank you.
Boastful, posturing, conceited...
PRESS CONTINUE TO SHOUT QUESTIONS
Why can't she say anything without hectoring?
She said it was her "intention", didn't she? What more do you want?
A bloody white flag?
The second ballot will include the Prime Minister herself.
I'm going to speak to Denis.
I want everyone in my suite in ten minutes. Where's Douglas?
I've just heard.
I'll back you, of course.
It might be helpful if you went downstairs and said so.
-Thank you, Douglas.
Are you supporting her?
Did you support her in the first ballot?
The Prime Minister continues to have my full support.
-It's just the rules.
You all right, love?
I know. Bloody silly.
Put that BBC wallah in his place.
This is not really the time to talk.
We're all behind you. You know that.
Yes, of course. I'm going to fight.
TV: 'I am overwhelmed with gratitude to my parliamentary colleagues...'
Tory Party, I suppose.
Bunch of pygmies in the end.
KNOCKING ON DOOR
I'll see you tomorrow. God bless.
CHILD'S VOICE: 'The Law Of The Jungle, by Rudyard Kipling.
'"Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky."'
MAN'S VOICE: 'Again.'
'"The Law of the Jungle..."'
KNOCKING ON DOOR
I believe it is what the Prime Minister would want.
I've already declared my support, Charles.
Then proposing her for the second ballot is surely a formality.
Ah. Margaret. Good.
Prime Minister. You look radiant.
Thank you, Charles.
-Charles, you're not dressed.
-No, Prime Minister.
I've got some work I need to catch up on here.
Peter can go in my place.
He looks like he needs cheering up.
Stop moping, Peter. For goodness' sake,
we must fight. Now go and get changed.
We've kept everyone waiting long enough as it is.
Are you sure?
After all the sterling work you've done this week,
Peter, I thought you might enjoy a little ballet...
whilst I make a few rather important phone calls.
Look out for the dying swan.
REPORTERS: Prime Minister!
We're meeting in my house in Catherine Street later.
-A few chums. Some Cabinet.
We need to talk through the next steps.
Four votes, Tristan. Four votes!
When I think of Morrison asleep on his fucking desk...
She should have asked me. I'd have got the old bat in.
I told her after the Meyer challenge last year that there were a hundred assassins now lurking in the bushes.
I told her they'd come back for her.
She doesn't listen, Al.
It's too late now.
Charles, I'm sorry. It's like Bedlam in here.
I just thought it might be helpful for you to know that
Douglas will be proposing the Prime Minister for the second ballot.
-Is that definite?
-It might be worth letting John Major know.
The sooner her intentions are out, the better, I think.
She intends to carry on, then?
What do you think?
Is that wise?
That's not for me to say, is it?
Thank you, Charles.
HE WHISPERS Come in, Michael!
Talk later, Charles.
Let's dispense with formalities. This whole thing is descending into anarchy.
As Chief Whip, I have to ask you this.
Would you consider giving up your challenge, even at this late stage,
and serving in a Cabinet led by Margaret?
Or even led by Douglas?
The idea that having been wounded, Margaret will somehow
change her ways, become manageable, is nonsense. She can't change.
That's the way she is, and the Party no longer wants her, nor the country.
It's brutal, I know, but there it is!
As for serving under Douglas, well, it's clearly out of the question.
-He's not an election winner. I am.
I can unite this party, Tim, and lead it to victory in the next election. No-one else can do that.
She's got to go.
I still think she could beat Heseltine in the second round.
It's more a question of what it would do to the party.
Exactly. Her support is falling away by the minute.
Would Michael be a complete disaster?
I mean, at least he's not completely barking. Norman?
He's tolerable enough.
I imagine we could all serve under him.
Not quite that simple, though, is it, William?
We have to ensure that whoever takes over can win the next election.
Except if we put Major in, he'll be there for the next 25 years.
I suppose that would foil a few well-made plans.
So we're all assuming, are we, that she won't stand?
If she stands, Michael wins.
-Oh, she'll stand.
-But she can't be allowed to.
Who's going to tell her?
-She's not going to listen to Ken Clarke! You can forget that.
-She's mad enough to stick it out.
That's exactly what she'll do, and I don't blame her. She'll get my vote.
Of course. And mine.
If she stands.
United in support.
But she mustn't stand.
We must be united on that. She must go.
That's why we're here, isn't it?
I shan't sleep, Crawfie.
-You must. It's going to be a long day tomorrow.
-Shall we have a nightcap?
-Gin and tonic for me.
-Nonsense. You can't drink gin and tonic at this time of night.
Just make you sleepy.
Funny old world.
Why is it funny?
Is that a joke?
I do so hope not, Crawfie, dear.
Jokes are such hard work.
It's a saying.
"Funny old world."
Not funny ha-ha. More funny peculiar.
Funny peculiar. Yes.
It's the funny ha-ha I don't get, isn't it?
I've never understood the ha-ha business.
I suppose one never had that much as a child.
I always thought they wanted a boy, you know.
After Muriel. I'm sure she did.
So, one was never really able to be a girl.
In that way.
Daddy's, but...not Daddy's girl.
Do you see?
He took me everywhere.
Rotary Club. Council Chamber.
Listening to him.
Talking to his friends.
Grown-up men in their smart suits...
with their pipes...
and the change jangling in their pockets.
It's odd the things one remembers.
The jangling change.
And the talk.
One always felt so small.
You had to fight to be heard, you see.
He made you fight.
Again...and again...and again.
Against your smallness.
But not like a girl.
That's what they laugh at now, isn't it?
That's funny, ha-ha.
Me as a man.
Carol tries to explain it to me.
Me...as a man.
It's a funny old world.
-'Now, this is the law of the jungle,
'as old and as true as the sky.
'And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
'but the wolf that shall break it must die.'
I need to speak with the lady.
-Not a hope, old boy.
-Yeah, with a lot of fucking foreigners, I suppose.
I need to talk to her.
There was a gathering last night at Tristan's.
Mostly Blue Chips, but a lot of Cabinet. She needs to know the mood.
-I'll call you back later.
-Peter, you will tell her I rang, won't you?
This is crucial. Plots are afoot.
-Because if you tell her, she'll call me.
And if she doesn't call me, I'll know it's because you haven't told her.
Don't worry. I'll tell her!
No, you won't.
Ken Baker, Tim Renton and Cranley
will join you as soon as they can.
What about the nomination papers?
Douglas has agreed to propose you.
I'm sure John will follow suit again.
-Is he still at home?
Very painful business, wisdom teeth.
It would be helpful if he and Douglas were to put out a statement.
I'll see to it.
'No, no, no!'
The idea that I would share a platform with
Ted Heath on my last press conference...
I see it's difficult for you, Margaret. But we must act.
Half a percent, Willie.
It's the first time we've been behind,
and with a week left, I'd say this was serious.
It's just running scared.
How dare you?
Does nobody understand?
I'm not just fighting everything the Labour Party stands for.
I'm fighting everything Ted Heath stands for. Can nobody see that?
We understand your position, Margaret. But if it means the party coming through...
I beat Ted Heath.
I beat him!
You don't join with your enemy.
You don't make deals with him.
You destroy him!
This election will be won or lost on my leadership,
and my leadership alone.
I trust I have your full support.
TV: 'And as the country wakes up to the news that Britain has elected
'its first-ever woman prime minister, Mrs Thatcher herself is at
'Conservative Central Office, waiting for the call from the Palace.'
Now, ask them when the car business happens,
do we swap at the Palace?
-What will you do, love? I hope they haven't forgotten you.
-All taken care of. Don't fret.
Mum, I've left my lipstick. Have you got any?
Don't be silly, dear, you can't wear mine. Caroline?
your shoes. Filthy.
It's just a scuff mark.
Oh, thank you.
A woman always looks at a man's shoes.
Sure sign of character.
PHONE CONTINUES TO RING
Oh...yes, of course.
It's Ted Heath.
He'd like to offer his congratulations.
That should do it.
Just thank him for me, would you, Caroline?
The Prime Minister has asked me to say she's grateful for your call...
CAROLINE PICKS UP RECEIVER
Good. At last.
Come along, everyone, don't dawdle.
Now, then, who's driving us?
..is what I would advise you, Prime Minister.
I was thinking, perhaps, John Wakeham on the campaign.
Yes, yes. We need some weight.
And Tristan Garel-Jones, get hold of him. Richard Ryder.
They've done it for us in the past.
They know the score.
-What's the SP, John?
-Looks like she's going to stand.
Can't help herself, can she?
I wish to God she'd just...
She wants me to run her campaign, Denis.
As soon as she gets back.
No-one wants her to be crushed.
-No. Thank you, John.
-We'll look after her.
She doesn't need looking after.
No. Of course not.
TV: 'That the party would stand a better chance
-'of victory in the next election...'
It's a blue fug in here. Honestly.
WINDOW FRAME RATTLES
-It's all right, love.
I'll do it.
You look bushed.
Take your shoes off.
No, I mustn't. I mustn't stop.
Just have a moment.
Don't go on, love.
Stand down now.
Don't let them break you.
I will decide when I stand down.
Who else could do the job?
Just tell me that, and I'll go.
Who can I trust?
I'll be right down.
-So we think 25.
That would reduce my support to...
And the target for you to win on your second ballot would be...
187. Yes, we know that.
How accurate are your figures?
We think, very.
I'm firmly convinced, Prime Minister,
with a more effective campaign over the next five days,
there's a good chance you could turn it around.
But it is a close call.
I've asked John to do a trawl of the Cabinet, Prime Minister.
Um... There's nothing concrete as yet,
I'm afraid, Prime Minister.
For my part...
I believe there's no disgrace to you
in fighting on for what you believe in.
Even if you are defeated.
Which you will be,
if we don't get through the bloody waffle and start fighting.
-Thank you, Norman.
-I'm with Norman.
What we should do is get the campaign moving -
get you out there, Margaret.
-Back into the tea rooms.
Find these bastards who are drifting away, and set you on them.
Have you contacted Tristan,
and Richard Ryder?
Not got back to us yet.
Prime Minister, you're due in the House in half an hour.
Thank you, Peter.
I should prepare my statement about the summit.
Couldn't you...leave that?
Perhaps include it in the No Confidence debate?
I refuse to be sidetracked.
I have an important statement to make to the House,
and I shall make it.
REPORTERS ALL SHOUT
I fight on.
I fight to win.
How are you feeling?
Any more comments on...
ALL SHOUT AT ONCE
-A couple more, Maggie...
-What's your reply...?
The Cabinet are what?
12 - 7 against so far.
And 15% of junior ministers have swung.
Why the hell didn't you tell her?
-I didn't feel it was proper.
I was given this in confidence.
Not everyone here is Cabinet.
What have you got?
Yes, I've spoken to some of these.
And you've not heard from Tris or Richard?
They're not on. Both think she's finished.
She's got to stand.
She's got to keep Heseltine out.
Christ, if she doesn't, I will.
Michael's definitely gaining.
What's the matter with everyone? It's falling apart.
They don't think she's electable any longer.
I suppose you can see the logic.
If 45% of the parliamentary party won't vote for her, why should the country?
She's going to have to face the Cabinet...
< I believe that the outcome of this summit
< is one of which this government,
< this House, and this country can be proud.
LAUGHTER AND CHATTER
CHATTER DIES DOWN
-Moaning you haven't seen the Prime Minister?
-Excellent speech, Prime Minister.
-thank you, Prime Minister.
-Yes, please, sit down.
-The Prime Minister would like to know
if there's anything she can do to reassure you.
Well, it's more one's constituents, Prime Minister.
Issues like the Poll Tax. They...
I can't start pulling rabbits out of hats now.
The Community Charge will work.
Absolutely, Prime Minister. Thank you.
I think we'd all like to say how nice it is
to see you, Prime Minister, in person.
Michael's people have been round three or four times
over...over the last couple of days.
-All is in hand.
the Prime Minister can count on your support?
Absolutely, Prime Minister, of course.
Get me out of here.
I can't do it, Norman. I will not put myself through that.
Why should I?
Because you have to.
You don't have a choice any more.
I must have the choice. Don't you think I've earned that, Norman?
Don't you think I've at least earned that?
TV: 'Three hours later, as the fires continued,
'nearly 200 people were reported injured. Inevitably...'
These are criminal acts. These people are common criminals.
This has nothing to do with our social policy.
Think of the shopkeepers. They're victims. Not these people.
I think the concern is simply that
the economic measures the government are taking
may be a little harsh in the present climate, Prime Minister.
It's the old story, isn't it? Two years in,
things get a bit bumpy, and everyone loses their nerve.
Well, I am not going to lose my nerve.
But we're in danger here of pulling the entire country apart
for the sake of a theory.
It should be possible to establish common ground.
-Perhaps if alternatives to our course of action...
-They haven't got alternatives!
There is no alternative.
There are people in these deprived areas living in appalling squalor!
Whose fault's that?
Not the government's.
I've visited some of those areas.
You're not going to tell me people are so deprived
they can't pick up a bit of litter?
Well, no. But litter is hardly...
And when did you become such an expert on deprived areas?
A couple of away days to Liverpool,
and suddenly, you're ringing your hands like William Wilberforce.
This all seems quite straightforward to me.
Those who disagree with the path we're on
have one very simple alternative.
Well, I think we're all in broad agreement on that,
so I propose we wish Geoffrey luck with this afternoon's statement,
and move on.
-We mustn't lose our nerve, Willie.
-I fear we may be losing the country.
Perhaps a little more consensus in Cabinet.
You mean something which no-one believes in, but no-one objects to.
-That kind of consensus?
-Wrong word, perhaps.
Er... Persuasion, possibly.
I find persuasion to be utterly counterproductive.
I don't want a Cabinet wasting time talking. We should be doing.
We won't be doing anything if we lose the next election.
I'm sorry to have to be so frank, but there are concerns
that things are going awry.
No-one doubts your conviction, or your courage.
Go on, Willie. I'm listening.
But what I believe you to be, above all else, is a politician.
That is your greatest strength. You have a political instinct and you must never allow it to desert you.
That is the thing...
that will always protect you.
I'm a woman, Willie. I must dominate them, or they will destroy me.
But you cannot dominate the entire country, Margaret.
I will change the soul of this country, Willie.
I will do it.
Either you are with me, or you are against me.
We shall prevail.
Right, where are we?
-Douglas, I understand you've been good enough to nominate me for the second ballot.
And what about John Major?
Has anyone spoken to him?
John is still convalescing, Prime Minister.
(It's the Prime Minister.)
Prime Minister. How are you?
Fighting on, John.
And your mouth?
-Improving, thank you, Prime Minister.
I shall need you to sign my nomination papers.
I believe they are being sent up to you.
Of course, Prime Minister.
If that is what you want.
Warm salt water, by the way.
You must prevent infection.
Thank you, Prime Minister.
Well, come along. What are we doing?
John, have you contacted Tristan and Richard?
they don't feel able to help, Prime Minister.
Prime Minister, I think the time has come for you to face the Cabinet.
Consult, I mean, of course.
-Is that necessary?
-When would you suggest, John?
I'm due at the Palace in half an hour.
Perhaps you'd like me to put the Queen off
so that I can face the Cabinet?
I would suggest we set up a series of private interviews on your return.
-I wonder, Prime Minister...
Might it not be more advisable...
-to meet in full Cabinet?
Absolutely. Get them all in there.
Say to them, none of you bastards would be here if it wasn't for me.
Now I need something from you - loyalty!
I suspect it might be a little more discreet
if we keep it to individual interviews.
The Prime Minister should have time alone with each of her ministers.
I believe it equally important that
her ministers should feel they can speak with the Prime Minister, in confidence.
HE MUMBLES IN DISAGREEMENT
I also believe, constitutionally,
the Prime Minister needs the support of the Cabinet...
in order to continue.
I'm sure things will become...
clearer, once you've spoken to them yourself, Prime Minister.
Things usually do.
I suggest five minutes each will be sufficient.
What do we say, Ken? I mean,
what do we say?
Just let her have it, John. God's sake, let's get this over with.
-You owe it to her to tell her the truth.
-She's got to go.
If she doesn't, some of us will. That's what we've got to tell her.
-I'm sure you'll avoid unnecessary brutality, Ken.
Right, who's got the batting order?
And President Bush, Ma'am, was most solicitous. And Barbara.
They whisked one away from all the fuss.
Quite a formidable woman, I understand.
And we were talking to Brian Mulroney.
I know Mr Mulroney.
Of course, Ma'am.
He was saying, in his country,
they put up statues to men who lose three elections.
One has a great regard for the Canadians, of course.
Of course, Ma'am.
But you have the support of your Cabinet?
There are waverers, I believe, Ma'am.
But one is advised that one's support is fairly solid.
We would like to think we have earned that much loyalty.
-One does have to be on one's guard, though, don't you find?
advise what they think one would like to hear advised, as it were.
Although one likes to think one is still sufficiently in control
to recognise the difference.
And you fight on.
One must always fight, Ma'am.
What else is there?
When did you find this out?
-You knew this earlier, didn't you?
-It was difficult, Prime Minister.
There were non-Cabinet ministers present. I didn't feel I could betray confidences.
Do we still have sufficient support?
Do we?! Stop fudging, all of you.
Where do we stand?
We keep fighting. You can do it.
You're still our best chance.
Our best chance?!
-We must keep Heseltine out.
-Has it come to that?
I am our best chance of "keeping Michael out"? John?
I believe support is haemorrhaging somewhat on the backbenches.
I wouldn't say haemorrhaging.
The Party in the country is as strong as ever.
But I have only one-third of the Cabinet?
The Queen is a remarkable woman.
All right, John, let's see what they've got to say.
-Ken. Would you like a drink?
-No, Prime Minister. This shouldn't take long.
Good. That's more like it.
I'm afraid you can't possibly go on.
It was clear the moment you didn't come through the first ballot.
You MUST step down now and let Douglas and John run. If you don't, God knows who we'll end up with.
Don't get me wrong. I'd support you.
I'd support you for the next five, ten years if necessary.
The point is, no-one in the Cabinet thinks you have a chance of winning.
It'd be like the Charge Of The Light Brigade.
"C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre."
I think I get the message, Ken.
There's been too much bloodletting as it is.
And no-one wants you humiliated, Margaret.
No-one wants that.
You don't deserve that.
Thank you, Ken.
I appreciate your candour.
I'm sorry, Margaret, but there it is.
I think I may need a drink for this.
How was she?
Who's next? Malcolm?
Like a penalty shootout, isn't it?
I'm afraid I don't think you'd win, Prime Minister,
and your standing may well do untold harm.
What's more, if you do stand, I believe you'll lose,
and you'll undermine the authority of the government.
So I'm afraid that you must step down now and let Douglas and John run...
And of course, one wouldn't want you
to be humiliated in any way, Prime Minister.
Prime Minister... It's...
Don't tell me, John.
You will support me if I stand,
but you don't think that I will win,
and you think I should stand aside and let Douglas and John run,
for the sake of the Party.
And, above all,
you don't want to see me humiliated.
They've all got together like frightened little schoolboys behind Matron's back!
Charles was right, I should have seen them together.
How has it come to this? How?
John. Who have we got on the campaign team now?
I'm afraid we're having... problems mustering troops at the moment, Prime Minister.
These men would be nothing without me.
This party - nothing!
They can't do this.
The country elected me Prime Minister.
I should carry on as Prime Minister.
Damn the party.
I could do that.
I could carry on as Prime Minister and damn them.
Why should they destroy me? Could I do that? Could I?
Call an election, you mean?
No! I don't need an election!
I've been elected.
I mean, carry on as Prime Minister of this country,
and let them get whoever they want to lead their damned party!
WAKEHAM CLEARS HIS THROAT
Perhaps you should...get back to Number 10, Prime Minister.
Have a word with Denis?
Yes. Thank you, John.
Prime Minister. How are you?
Fine, dear, fine.
Nothing a good stiff drink won't sort out.
Where's Charles? Has he drafted something for tomorrow's debate yet?
I'm going to give the doctor a call.
Don't be silly. Where's Denis?
Sit down, woman.
For God's sake.
Take your shoes off.
Stop for a minute.
Come on, love.
You're just tired.
Must get back to work.
Mustn't waste a minute now.
Lost their nerve.
It's over, love.
No. Not like this.
I won't let them do this to me.
-I will not.
I will not.
Bunch of bloody toe rags.
The doctor's on his way, Prime Minister.
Almost done, there.
Just a vitamin shot.
-Keep you going.
-Call down to Charles.
Tell him I want to start work as soon as possible.
Norman Tebbit's here for you, Prime Minister. And John Gummer.
Back to work then, everyone.
Much to do.
Don't worry, Norman. Still here.
Don't let them talk you round, Prime Minister. There's still plenty of support out there.
Prime Minister, I couldn't leave you without...
Please let me do something. This is all so awful.
That's more like it. Good.
Thank goodness for one's friends.
Now, come along. We've got to get this speech drafted.
Charles, have you eaten? Has everyone eaten?
Plenty in the freezer.
No, thank you, Prime Minister.
Let's see what you've got, then.
And let's get some work done.
Are you sure?
CLARKE: 'She's working on the speech for the no confidence debate tomorrow,
'but I saw Morrison earlier, and that's the feeling'.
So what do I do about her nomination papers?
-Driver's been waiting here for hours.
'By the time they get back to London, it'll all be over'.
What about Cabinet tomorrow? She could bounce them all back again.
'I suggest you get back down first thing.
'Assuming she stands down.
'And assuming your mouth is OK, of course. No infection?'
No, no infection.
Thank you, Ken.
All right, gentlemen.
Thank you. I think that's it.
-Would anyone like a drink? Nightcap?
-No, thank you, Prime Minister.
-Better get off, Prime Minister.
Prime Minister, are you all right?
Yes, Charles. Thank you.
Come on, then. Off you go.
Wives will be waiting. I should get upstairs to Denis.
He'll only be fretting.
Goodnight, sir. Goodnight, sir.
John Major's driver just dropped this off.
Thank you, Brian.
ALL: Ten more years! Ten more years!
HOWE: 'And above all, I should like to pay tribute to the firmness,'
resolution and courage the Prime Minister has shown
over the course of these ten years.
Her belief in what we set out to achieve has been unwavering,
and has given us all the strength to see through the task in hand.
The Prime Minister.
ALL: The Prime Minister.
Advisors. Like courtiers. They just play up to her.
Leaks. Sources. Briefings.
She's got Powell helping to draft the manifesto for the European elections.
They're just stirring up all the worst aspects of...
chauvinism, nationalism, whatever you'd like to call it,
just because she thinks there are votes in it.
She misses you at her side, Willie.
I think we all do.
Well, I told her when I left that I'd be available if ever she needed me. Haven't heard a peep.
We're the senior figures.
We just look weak and ineffectual.
We must do something.
What do you suggest?
A union, perhaps.
It's, um...very difficult for me, of course.
This is mostly your territory.
Europe. The economy. Not much I can contribute at the Home Office.
You and Nigel must stand together.
That's as far as you can go for now.
Now then, you lot. What plots are you hatching here?
Margaret! How delightful you look tonight.
Doesn't she, Denis?
-Has done for the last 30 years.
Willie, I hope you're taking it easy.
We only allowed you to retire on condition that you play golf
and shoot a few furry, defenceless animals at the weekend.
Never felt better. Away from all this.
Does you the world of good.
You should try it, love.
I'm sure you're not alone in that thought, Denis.
Geoffrey, charming speech.
-Have you had a haircut?
..may have had a little trim.
Geoffrey has had a trim for the party.
And very smart you look, too.
Nigel, I see yours is creeping over your collar again.
Is it? Well...
Makes you look so louche, Nigel.
I couldn't help noticing it on television the other day.
I think you need to take a leaf out of Geoffrey's book.
Nice little trim.
Dear me, one has to keep an eye on one's Cabinet, doesn't one?
-John, thank you. John's looking after me, you see,
while the rest of you stand around gossiping.
Geoffrey, fetch my shawl, would you?
Now, gentlemen, shall we join the ladies?
"Beware the fury of a patient man"?
RADIO: 'Nominations for the second ballot of the leadership
'of the Conservative Party are due by 12 o'clock this afternoon.
'Michael Heseltine is claiming strong support, although it is still not clear
'whether the Prime Minister intends to stand...'
We must spot the furniture.
On the furniture.
Green for ours.
Red for...what belongs here.
I'll tell Crawfie.
I'll call Peter.
-Thank you, Peter.
Thank you, Peter.
Thank you, Peter.
What did I say,
right from the start?
"He who wields the dagger...
"never wears the crown."
They don't deserve you.
They never have.
-'Now this is the law of the jungle,
'as old and as true as the sky,
'and the wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
'but the wolf that shall break it must die.
'As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk,
'the law runneth forward and back.
'For the strength of the pack is the wolf,
'and the strength of the wolf is the pack.'
Before we proceed to formal Cabinet business,
I'd like to make a short statement.
"Having consulted widely with...colleagues...
"Having consulted widely..."
I'm so sorry.
For God's sake, James. You read it.
"I have concluded that the unity of the party
"and the prospects of victory in a general election...
"..would be better served if I stood down to enable Cabinet colleagues
"to enter the ballot for the leadership."
"I should like to thank all those in the Cabinet and outside...
"..who have given me such dedicated support."
You have and you will always continue to have
the loyalty of the party.
ALL: Hear, hear.
It's a funny old world.
'The Prime Minister!'
'11 years ago,
'we rescued Britain from the parlous state
'to which socialism had brought it.
SHOUTS OF APPROVAL
'Once again, Britain stands tall in the councils of Europe'
-'and of the world,
-SHOUTS OF APPROVAL
'and our policies have brought unparalleled prosperity to our citizens at home.'
SHOUTS OF APPROVAL
'Will the Prime Minister tell us whether she intends to continue her personal fight
'against a single currency and an independent central bank when she leaves office?'
-'She's going to be the governor!'
'What a good idea!
'I hadn't thought of that! Now, where were we? I'm enjoying this!'
'Cancel it. You can wipe the floor with these people!'
I haven't touched your drawer.
Your private one.
You haven't packed anything from it yet.
I'm so sorry, Crawfie, dear.
You pack it. I'm sure it'll be fine.
I'm just going down to the office.
A few things.
She hasn't packed anything.
I know, Crawf.
I'm afraid it's been removed, Prime Minister.
They've taken it. It's no longer yours.
This must be appallingly difficult for you.
In the House this afternoon...
You were magnificent.
One felt as though one were speaking for the last time.
Well, I suppose you were.
My God, the House will miss you.
Not just in the House.
I felt as though I were speaking for the last time ever...
in my life.
I'm sure you've got a lot more more to say yet, Prime Minister.
What am I going to do, Charles?
REPORTERS SHOUT AT ONCE
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Drama charting Margaret Thatcher's astonishing fall from power, one of the most extraordinary stories of political assassination the world has seen. It took only eleven days for Thatcher to go from being the most powerful woman in the world to the tearful figure in the back of the car. A major tragedy in the true Shakespearean sense, in Margaret we watch a woman lose the one thing she really cares about - power - changing from leader to victim before our eyes.
12th November 1990: As Thatcher prepares for her speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet at the Guildhall, Geoffrey Howe, her quietly-spoken former foreign secretary and chancellor, pens the resignation speech that will stun the country and seal her fate. The next day Howe makes his lethal speech in the Houses of Parliament and the final ten days of Margaret Thatcher's reign begin.