Second Thatcher ministry

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 4 May 1979 to 28 November 1990, during which time she led a Conservative government. She was the first woman to hold that office. During her premiership, Thatcher moved to liberalise the British economy through deregulation, privatisation, and the promotion of entrepreneurialism.

Second Thatcher ministry
1983–1987
Thatcher (1984)
Date formed9 June 1983 (1983-06-09)
Date dissolved11 June 1987 (1987-06-11)
People and organisations
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Prime Minister's history1979–1990
Deputy Prime Minister[note 1]
Total no. of ministers219 appointments
Member partyConservative Party
Status in legislatureMajority
Opposition cabinet
Opposition partyLabour Party
Opposition leader
History
Election(s)1983 general election
Outgoing election1987 general election
Legislature term(s)49th UK Parliament
PredecessorFirst Thatcher ministry
SuccessorThird Thatcher ministry

This article details the second government Thatcher led at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II from 1983 to 1987.

Formation

The Conservative government was re-elected in June 1983 with a majority of 144 seats, with Labour in opposition having a mere 209 seats after its worst postwar electoral performance, seeing off a close challenge from the SDP–Liberal Alliance who came close to them on votes though not with seats.

With inflation firmly under control and union reforms contributing towards the lowest level of strikes since the early 1950s, the Tories were now faced with the challenge of reducing unemployment from a record high of 3,200,000.

March 1984 saw the beginning of a miners' strike which would last for 12 months and divide the country as Mrs Thatcher announced extensive pit closures which would ultimately cost thousands of miners their jobs as well, while the remaining pits were set to be privatised in the proposed sell-off of the National Coal Board. Privatisation of utilities and heavy industry was becoming a key symbol of Thatcherism, with the likes of British Telecom also transferring from public to private ownership.

Michael Foot had stepped down as Labour leader after the 1983 general election. The man elected by Labour with the task of getting them back into government was Neil Kinnock. He proved himself as a fierce rival to Thatcher, and more than once during the 1983–87 parliament, the opinion polls showed Labour (and very occasionally the Alliance) in the lead, although a huge swing was required at a general election if the Conservative government was to be ousted.

The challenge from the SDP–Liberal Alliance was becoming weaker, despite their brief lead of the opinion polls during 1985.

However, economic growth following recession had been re-established by the beginning of this parliament and by 1987 the economy was well on the road to recovery. However, unemployment which had peaked at nearly 3,300,000 during 1984 was barely above 3,000,000 by the turn of 1987, and with the opinion polls all showing a Tory lead, it was anticipated that Thatcher would call the next general election earlier than the deadline of June 1988.

Fate

A general election was called for 11 June 1987, and the Tories triumphed for the third election in succession. Labour, on the other hand, achieved a better election result than it had the previous time (and also managed to reduce the Conservative majority), with more than 30% of the vote, while the SDP–Liberal Alliance floundered and was soon disbanded as the Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party merged to form the Social and Liberal Democrats (who soon became the Liberal Democrats).

Cabinet

June 1983 to June 1987

Changes

  • October 1983 
    • Tom King succeeded Norman Tebbit as Secretary of State for Employment.
    • Norman Tebbit succeeded Cecil Parkinson as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
    • Nicholas Ridley succeeded Tom King as Secretary of State for Transport.
  • September 1984 
  • September 1985 
    • Lord Young of Graffham succeeded Tom King as Secretary of State for Employment.
    • Kenneth Baker succeeded Patrick Jenkin as Secretary of State for the Environment.
    • Norman Tebbit succeeded Lord Gowrie as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
    • Tom King succeeded Douglas Hurd as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
    • Kenneth Clarke enters the Cabinet as Paymaster-General.
    • Leon Brittan succeeded Norman Tebbit as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
    • John MacGregor succeeded Peter Rees as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
    • Douglas Hurd succeeded Leon Brittan as Home Secretary.
  • early January 1986  Malcolm Rifkind succeeded George Younger as Secretary of State for Scotland. Younger succeeded Michael Heseltine as Secretary of State for Defence.
  • late January 1986  Paul Channon succeeded Leon Brittan as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
  • May 1986 
    • Nicholas Ridley succeeded Kenneth Baker as Secretary of State for the Environment. John Moore succeeded Ridley as Secretary of State for Transport.
    • Kenneth Baker succeeded Keith Joseph as Secretary of State for Education and Science.

List of Ministers

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

OfficeNameDatesNotes
Prime Minister,
First Lord of the Treasury
and Minister for the Civil Service
Margaret ThatcherJune 1983 
Lord ChancellorThe Lord Hailsham of St MaryleboneJune 1983 
Lord President of the Council
and Leader of the House of Lords
The Viscount Whitelaw11 June 1983also Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party
Minister of State for the Privy Council OfficeThe Earl of Gowrie11 June 1983 – 11 September 1984 
Richard Luce2 September 1985 – June 1987 
Lord Privy Seal
and Leader of the House of Commons
John Biffen11 June 1983 
Chancellor of the ExchequerNigel Lawson11 June 1983 
Chief Secretary to the TreasuryPeter Rees11 June 1983 
John MacGregor2 September 1985 
Minister of State, TreasuryBarney HayhoeJune 1983 – 2 September 1985 
Ian Gow2 September 1985 – 19 November 1985 
Hon. Peter Brooke19 November 1985 – 13 June 1987 
Parliamentary Secretary to the TreasuryJohn Wakeham11 June 1983 
Financial Secretary to the TreasuryHon. Nicholas Ridley13 June 1983 
John Moore18 October 1983 
Norman Lamont21 May 1986 
Economic Secretary to the TreasuryJohn Moore13 June 1983 
Ian Stewart19 October 1983 
Lords of the TreasuryAlastair GoodladJune 1983 – 10 September 1984 
Donald ThompsonJune 1983 – 10 September 1986 
David HuntJune 1983 – 10 September 1984 
Ian Lang11 June 1983 – 1 February 1986 
Tristan Garel-Jones11 June 1983 – 16 October 1986 
John Major3 October 1984 – 1 November 1985 
Hon. Archie Hamilton3 October 1984 – 10 September 1986 
Hon. Tim Sainsbury7 October 1985 – 23 June 1987 
Michael Neubert10 February 1986 – June 1987 
Peter Lloyd16 October 1986 – June 1987 
Hon. Mark Lennox-Boyd16 October 1986 – June 1987 
Tony Durant16 October 1986 – June 1987 
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth AffairsSir Geoffrey Howe11 June 1983 
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth AffairsTimothy RaisonJune 1983 – 10 September 1986also Minister of Overseas Development
Richard Luce11 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
Malcolm Rifkind13 June 1983 – 11 January 1986 
The Baroness Young13 June 1983 – 13 June 1987 
Tim Renton2 September 1985 – 13 June 1987 
Lynda Chalker11 January 1986 – June 1987
Chris Patten10 September 1986 – June 1987
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth AffairsRay Whitney13 June 1983 
Tim Renton11 September 1984 
Timothy Eggar2 September 1985 
Minister for Overseas DevelopmentTimothy RaisonJune 1983 
Chris Patten10 September 1986also Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Secretary of State for the Home DepartmentLeon Brittan11 June 1983 
Hon. Douglas Hurd2 September 1985 
Minister of State for Home AffairsDavid WaddingtonJune 1983 – 13 June 1987 
The Lord Elton11 September 1984 – 25 March 1985 
Giles Shaw11 September 1984 – 10 September 1986 
David Mellor10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
The Earl of Caithness10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for Home AffairsThe Lord EltonJune 1983 – 11 September 1984 
David MellorJune 1983 – 10 September 1986 
The Lord Glenarthur27 March 1984 – 10 September 1986 
Hon. Douglas Hogg10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and FoodMichael Jopling11 June 1983 
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and FoodJohn MacGregor13 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
The Lord Belstead13 June 1983 – 13 June 1987 
John Gummer2 September 1985 – June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and FoodPeggy FennerJune 1983 – 10 September 1986 
Donald Thompson10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Minister for the ArtsThe Earl of Gowrie13 June 1983 
Richard Luce2 September 1985 
Secretary of State for DefenceMichael HeseltineJune 1983 
Hon. George Younger9 January 1986 
Minister of State for the Armed ForcesJohn Stanley13 June 1983 
Minister of State for Defence ProcurementGeoffrey Pattie13 June 1983 
Hon. Adam Butler11 September 1984 
Norman Lamont2 September 1985 
The Lord Trefgarne21 May 1986 
Minister of State for Defence SupportThe Lord Trefgarne2 September 1985 – 21 May 1986 
Under-Secretary of State for the Armed ForcesThe Lord Trefgarne13 June 1983 – 1 September 1985 
Roger Freeman21 May 1986 – June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for Defence ProcurementIan StewartJune 1983 – 18 October 1983 
John Lee18 October 1983 – 10 September 1986 
Hon. Archie Hamilton10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Secretary of State for Education and ScienceSir Keith Joseph, BtJune 1983 
Kenneth Baker21 May 1986 
Minister of State, Education and ScienceChris Patten5 September 1985 – 10 September 1986 
Angela Rumbold10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State, Education and ScienceHon. Peter Brooke13 June 1983 – 19 November 1985 
Bob Dunn13 June 1983 – June 1987 
George Walden19 November 1985 – 13 June 1987 
Secretary of State for EmploymentNorman TebbitJune 1983 
Tom King16 October 1983 
The Lord Young of Graffham2 September 1985 
Minister of State, EmploymentHon. Peter Morrison13 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
John Gummer18 October 1985 – 11 September ? 
Kenneth Clarke2 September 1985 – 13 June 1987Also Paymaster-General
Under-Secretary of State, EmploymentJohn GummerJune 1983 – 18 October 1983 
Alan Clark13 June 1983 – 24 January 1986 
Peter Bottomley11 September 1984 – 23 January 1986 
David Trippier2 September 1985 – 13 June 1987 
Ian Lang31 January 1986 – 10 September 1986 
John Lee10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Secretary of State for EnergyPeter Walker11 June 1983 
Minister of State, EnergyAlick Buchanan-Smith13 June 1983 
Under-Secretary of State, EnergyThe Earl of AvonJune 1983 – 11 September 1984 
Giles Shaw13 June 1983 – 11 September 1984 
David Hunt11 September 1984 – 13 June 1987 
Alastair Goodlad11 September 1984 – 13 June 1987 
Secretary of State for the EnvironmentPatrick Jenkin11 June 1983 
Kenneth Baker23 September 1985 
Hon. Nicholas Ridley21 May 1986 
Minister of State for Local GovernmentThe Lord BellwinJune 1983 
Kenneth Baker11 September 1984 
Hon. William Waldegrave2 September 1985 
Rhodes Boyson10 September 1986 
Minister of State for HousingIan Gow13 June 1983 
John Patten2 September 1985 
Minister of State, EnvironmentThe Lord Elton27 March 1985 – 10 September 1986 
Hon. William Waldegrave10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for SportNeil MacfarlaneJune 1983 – 2 September 1985 
Richard Tracey7 September 1985 – 13 June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State, EnvironmentSir George Young, BtJune 1981 – 10 September 1986 
Hon. William Waldegrave13 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
The Earl of Avon11 September 1984 – 27 March 1985 
Angela Rumbold2 September 1985 – 10 September 1986 
The Lord Skelmersdale10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Christopher Chope10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Secretary of State for Social ServicesNorman FowlerJune 1983 
Minister of State, HealthKenneth ClarkeJune 1983 
Barney Hayhoe2 September 1985 
Tony Newton10 September 1986 
Under-Secretary of State, Health and Social SecurityTony NewtonJune 1983 – 11 September 1984 
John Patten14 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
The Lord Glenarthur14 June 1983 – 26 March 1985 
Ray Whitney11 September 1984 – 10 September 1986 
The Baroness Trumpington30 March 1985 – 13 June 1987 
John Major2 September 1985 – 10 September 1986 
Nicholas Lyell10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Edwina Currie10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Minister of State, Social SecurityRhodes Boyson12 June 1983 – 11 September 1984 
Tony Newton11 September 1984 – 10 September 1986 
John Major10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Minister of State, Industry and Information TechnologyKenneth BakerJune 1983under Office of Trade and Industry from 12 June 1983
Geoffrey Pattie11 September 1984Office abolished 13 June 1987
Chancellor of the Duchy of LancasterThe Lord Cockfield11 June 1983 
The Earl of Gowrie11 September 1984 
Norman Tebbit3 September 1985 
Secretary of State for Northern IrelandJames PriorJune 1983 
Hon. Douglas Hurd11 September 1984 
Tom King3 September 1985 
Minister of State, Northern IrelandHon. Adam ButlerJune 1983 – 11 September 1984 
The Earl of Mansfield13 June 1983 – 12 April 1984 
Rhodes Boyson11 September 1984 – 10 September 1986 
Nicholas Scott10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State, Northern IrelandNicholas ScottJune 1983 – 11 September 1986 
Chris Patten14 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
The Lord Lyell12 April 1984 – June 1987 
Richard Needham3 September 1985 – June 1987 
Peter Viggers10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Brian Mawhinney10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Paymaster-GeneralVacant11 June 1983 
John Gummer11 September 1984 
Kenneth Clarke2 September 1985also Minister of State, Employment
Minister without PortfolioThe Lord Young of Graffham11 September 1984 – 3 September 1985 
Secretary of State for ScotlandHon. George YoungerJune 1983 
Malcolm Rifkind11 January 1986 
Minister of State for ScotlandThe Lord Gray of Contin13 June 1983 – 11 September 1986 
The Lord Glenarthur10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for ScotlandAllan StewartJune 1983 – 10 September 1986 
John MacKayJune 1983 – 14 June 1987 
Michael Ancram13 June 1983 – 14 June 1987 
Ian Lang10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Minister of State for TradePaul Channon13 June 1983under Office of Trade and Industry
Alan Clark24 January 1986 
Secretary of State for Trade and IndustryCecil Parkinson12 June 1983 
Norman Tebbit16 October 1983 
Leon Brittan2 September 1985 
Paul Channon24 January 1986 
Minister of State for Trade and IndustryNorman Lamont13 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
Hon. Peter Morrison2 September 1985 – 10 September 1986 
Giles Shaw10 September 1986 – 13 June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for Trade and IndustryJohn Butcher14 June 1983 – June 1987 
Alexander Fletcher14 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
David Trippier14 June 1983 – 2 September 1985 
The Lord Lucas of Chilworth11 September 1984 – 13 June 1987 
Michael Howard2 September 1985 – 13 June 1987 
Secretary of State for TransportTom King11 June 1983 
Hon. Nicholas Ridley16 October 1983 
John Moore21 May 1986 
Minister of State, TransportLynda Chalker18 October 1983 – 10 January 1986 
David Mitchell23 January 1986 – June 1987 
Under-Secretary of State for TransportLynda ChalkerJune 1983 – 18 October 1983 
David Mitchell11 June 1983 – 23 January 1986 
Michael Spicer11 September 1984 – 13 June 1987 
The Earl of Caithness2 September 1985 – 10 September 1986 
Peter Bottomley23 January 1986 – June 1987 
The Lord Brabazon of Tara10 September 1986 – June 1987 
Secretary of State for WalesNicholas EdwardsJune 1983 
Minister of State for WalesJohn Stradling ThomasJune 1983 – 2 September 1985 
Under-Secretary of State for WalesWyn RobertsJune 1983 – 13 June 1987 
Mark Robinson3 October 1985 – 15 June 1987 
Attorney GeneralMichael HaversJune 1983 
Solicitor GeneralSir Patrick Mayhew13 June 1983 
Lord AdvocateThe Lord Mackay of ClashfernJune 1983 
The Lord Cameron of Lochbroom16 May 1984 
Solicitor General for ScotlandPeter FraserJune 1983 
Treasurer of the HouseholdJohn Cope11 June 1983 
Comptroller of the HouseholdCarol MatherJune 1983 
Hon. Robert Boscawen16 October 1986 
Vice-Chamberlain of the HouseholdHon. Robert BoscawenJune 1983 
Tristan Garel-Jones16 October 1986 
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-ArmsThe Lord DenhamJune 1983 
Captain of the Yeomen of the GuardThe Earl of SwintonJune 1983 
The Viscount Davidson10 September 1986 
Lords-in-WaitingThe Viscount LongJune 1983 – 2 May 1997 
The Lord LyellJune 1983 – 12 April 1984 
The Lord SkelmersdaleJune 1983 – 10 September 1986 
The Lord Lucas of ChilworthJune 1983 – 9 September 1984 
The Baroness Trumpington11 June 1983 – 25 March 1985 
The Earl of Caithness8 May 1984 – 2 September 1985 
The Lord Brabazon of Tara19 September 1984 – 10 September 1986 
The Baroness Cox3 April 1985 – 2 August 1985 
The Viscount Davidson17 September 1985 – 10 September 1986 
The Baroness Hooper17 September 1985 – 14 June 1987 
The Lord Hesketh10 September 1986 – 31 January 1987 
The Lord Beaverbrook10 September 1986 – June 1987 
The Earl of Dundee3 October 1986 – June 1987 

Notes

References

  • Hennessy, Peter (2001), "A Tigress Surrounded by Hamsters: Margaret Thatcher, 1979–90", The Prime Minister: The Office and Its Holders since 1945, Penguin Group, ISBN 978-0-14-028393-8
  • British Cabinet and Government Membership, archived from the original on 16 January 2009, retrieved 20 April 2012
  • British Government 1979–2005, archived from the original on 7 February 2012, retrieved 20 November 2007
Preceded by
First Thatcher ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1983–1987
Succeeded by
Third Thatcher ministry
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