Fifty years ago today the Conservative Party was rocked by resignations over its economic policy. Peter Thorneycroft (Chancellor of the Exchequer); Enoch Powell (Financial Secretary) and Nigel Birch (Economic Secretary) disagreed with the Cabinet's decision to cut £105m of public expenditure - when they wanted £153m. Only in September 1903 had more ministers left the government at the same time. Thorneycroft claimed that "he alone in the Cabinet stood against inflation".
Macmillan had been due to fly to Africa the following day - despite the political crisis he decided to go ahead, telling reporters "“I thought the best thing to do was to settle up these little local difficulties, and then turn to the wider vision of the Commonwealth”.
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