ON THIS DAY 1975: Thatcher chooses her men - Walker out

Archive front page: Evening News 18 Feb 1975. Photo: Library Archive front page: Evening News 18 Feb 1975. Photo: Library

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
9:35 AM

As part of a new daily online series we look back on what was making the news on this day in Norfolk. Today, we look at the Eastern Evening News front page of February 18, 1975.

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SHADOW Defence Secretary Mr Peter Walker, who was a senior minister in Mr Heath’s government has been dropped from Mrs Margaret Thatcher’s new team.

Full details of Mrs Thatcher’s shadow cabinet were expected later, but news of Mr Walker’s exclusion came in a statement issued by him. In it he promised support from the back benches in the attempt to achieve unity for the party around a distinctly Conservative programme.

Mr Walker’s departure is not extirely unexpected. He was Mr Heath’s unofficial campaign manager in the ballot for Tory leadership.

Mr Walker saw Mrs Thatcher this morning, when he was given the news.

His statement later said: “In excluding me from the shadow cabinet Mararet Thatcher has chosen what I believe to be the only wholly honest solution and one which I accept and welcome. As she knows I agree with her on most aspects of policy”.


“I ahve for the past few months however, voiced in a series of speeches my grave doubts about the extreme monetarist polices currently fashionable within parts of the Conservative party. The nation faces grave and unprecedented economic problems, some of it’s own making, some not.

“I believe and hope that the Conservative party led by Margaret whose power of intellect I hold in deep respect will over the next few months and years be persuaded not to accept the deceptive temptations of a ridgid monelarist policy.

Mr Walker departure follows that of Mr Geoffery Rippon another Heath supporter, who last night told Mrs Thatcher that he did not wish to continue serving the Tory front bench.


Meanwhile Mr William Whitelaw today firmly buried his leadership struggle with Mrs Thatcher, explained why he had agreed to serve under her and declared “there is no greater mistake in life than dwelling in the past.”

Mr Whitelawm who is Mrs Thatcher’s newly - appointed deputy leader, told Cambridge University Conservative Association: “We must all look to the future together.”