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“I was there”

It is ten years since Michael Heseltine stormed out of the cabinet over Westland. Martin Rosenbaum compares eye-witness accounts

By Martin Rosenbaum   February 1996

According to his memoirs, Nigel Lawson regarded cabinet meetings as the most relaxing events in his busy life as chancellor of the exchequer. At one such meeting almost exactly ten years ago, his repose was abruptly disturbed by what he described as “the most dramatic moment in any cabinet I have attended.”

Most of his colleagues were equally startled. According to Nicholas Ridley it was “one of the most extraordinary events I have ever witnessed.” The cabinet was “staggered,” recalls Peter Walker; “stunned,” says Kenneth Baker; and “shell-shocked,” in the words of Sir Norman Fowler. Only Margaret Thatcher claims that…

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