James Forsyth

Margaret Thatcher and the Tory party’s change on Europe

Margaret Thatcher and the Tory party's change on Europe
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Charles Moore’s biography of Margaret Thatcher promises to be the most important British political book in decades. Tonight, we got a preview of it when Charles delivered the Centre for Policy Studies’ second Margaret Thatcher lecture.

The subject was Thatcher and Europe. I won’t say too much about it because we’re running a version of it in the coming issue of The Spectator. But one thing that Charles demonstrated was that even when Thatcher was campaigning for British membership of the European Community, as then was, she was never in favour of the European project.

One of the other thing that Charles’s lecture brought out was the shift in the balance of power in the Tory party on Europe. Thatcher’s downfall was caused—at least, in part—by her determination to limit the amount of sovereignty that was passed to Brussels. Now, it would be any attempt to hand over power to the European Union that would doom a Tory leader.