The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1983-1987 Parliament

Baroness Thatcher’s Comments on John Major’s Appointment as a Junior Minister

Below is the text from Baroness Thatcher’s book “The Downing Street Years” regarding the appointment of John Major as a junior Minister in the Department of Health and Social Security, ISBN 0002550490, page 422.


I also made quite a large number of changes in the ranks of junior ministers. Two future Cabinet ministers came into the Government – Michael Howard at the DTI and John Major who moved from the Whips’ Office to the DHSS. John Major was certainly not known to be on the right of the Party during his first days as an MP. When as a whip he came to the annual whips’ lunch at Downing Street with the other whips he disagreed with me about the importance of getting taxation down. He argued that there was no evidence that people would rather pay lower taxes than have better social services. I did not treat him or his argument kindly and some people, I later heard, thought that he had ruined his chances of promotion. But in fact I enjoy an argument and when the whips’ office suggested he become a junior minister I gave him the job which I myself had done first, dealing with the complex area of pensions and national insurance. If that did not alert him to the realities of social security and the dependency culture, nothing would.