Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Sir John Major

Last night I attended a meeting arranged by the Hansard Society at the LSE in which Sir John Major was interviewed by Elinor Goodman.

You can watch the whole event on BBC Parliament (Freeview 81, Sky 504, Virgin TV 612) on Saturday April 28 at 9pm or listen to Elinor Goodman interviewing John Major on The Week in Westminster, Radio 4 on Saturday April 28 at 11am.

I mentioned the excellent meetings which the Hansard Society arranges in the blog of April 19th. They also produce some very useful publications. For more details visit http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/

The interview was fascinating. Sir John said he had left politics, but made some very pointed criticisms of his successors and others. He revealed that he spoke to the American President, George Bush Senior, on an almost daily basis. We didn't hear about his relationship with President Clinton! He also discussed the issue of Britain's withdrawal from the ERM - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Wednesday has more details for those who don't vividly remember that key day. He said that he had written a letter of resignation and made a resignation broadcast - but was talked out of it by civil servants. "I was very close to going" he said, and is still unsure whether he should have gone.

I had the opportunity to put the first question from the audience - and asked what advice he would give to an incoming Prime Minister who was succeeeding a 'larger than life' character. It was a deliberately ambigious question - and he choose to talk about his own experience. He made it clear that he thought his greatest mistake was "to put too much of a premium on keeping the Conservative Party together".