Margaret Thatcher The Authorised Biography Volume Three: Herself Alone

There have been a large number of books about Mrs Thatcher. They range from a book by her former speechwriter, trusted adviser and the draftsman of two volumes of her autobiography to one written by one of Carol Thatcher’s ex-boyfriends and one written by the wife of DJ Pete Murray. Even her former press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham has recently added his words to the millions written about Lady Thatcher.

Until 2013, the best biography of Mrs Thatcher was John Campbell’s two-volume work, published when she was still alive.

That was the year the first volume of Charles Moore’s biography of Mrs Thatcher was published and what a book it turned out to be.

Now six years later, the third and final volume has arrived.

Heavy, yes but not heavy going.

Weighty, yes but full of fascinating facts over 1,008 pages.

Charles Moore, the former editor of The Daily Telegraph, has surpassed himself with this volume which tells the story of Mrs Thatcher’s defenestration by her own Cabinet – and wasn’t John Major a crafty so-and-so.

We are with Mrs Thatcher in Paris in November 1990 as back in London Tory MPs decide her fate and her useless, thirsty, paedophile of a PPS Peter Morrison, above, takes everything for granted, expecting an easy victory.

Such was his hubris, he arranged bottles of champagne to celebrate her victory – they remained unopened.

Labour’s unctuous Peter Mandelson has been nicknamed the Prince of Darkness by newspapers but he wasn’t really – his plots were and are always being uncovered. 

The real lord of the underworld was the Tory MP Tristan Garel-Jones who held a meeting at his home in Catherine Place for “a few mates” to discuss how to support Mrs Thatcher.

This was, in the circumstances, writes Charles Moore, an amusing phrase.

There were five Cabinet ministers present – Norman Lamont, Malcolm Rifkind, William Waldegrave, Chris Patten and Tony Newton – and would have been a sixth but Garel-Jones was unable to find Kenneth Clarke.

For a group supposed to support the PM, only Waldegrave stood up for her and had a critical word for John Major.

Mrs Thatcher’s fate, if it had not been already, was sealed.

Interestingly given the current political climate, Mrs Thatcher suggested a referendum on the country’s relationship with Europe. 

Moore reveals that Major had had a similar idea but because it had been proposed publicly by Mrs Thatcher, he dropped it because he could not get it through Cabinet with her name on it.

We learn of Mrs Thatcher’s distrust of the Germans, how George Bush sidelined her because he thought she had been too chummy with Ronald Reagan, how she became the first major world leader to speak out on global warming (in 1988) and how she worked to undermine apartheid in South Africa – despite her enemies believing she supported it.

When Sir Denis Thatcher died in 2003, Lady Thatcher was bereft – her relationship with her two children was not close.

She threatened to disinherit Carol when she went on TV in 2008 and told the world her mother had dementia.

Everyone knows – or thinks they know –  that the Queen and Mrs Thatcher did not get on.

Charles Moore reveals that they enjoyed an amicable relationship.

The Queen attended Lady Thatcher’s 70th and 80th birthday parties and the only other PM whose funeral she went to was Winston Churchill.

Charles Moore has written one of the finest political biographies of all time.

It is on a level with Robert A. Caro’s life of Lyndon B. Johnson for its thoroughness.

Read it – whether you love or loathe Mrs Thatcher – your eyes will be opened to many things you did not know about her.

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