Norman Tebbit: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Tebbit

In office
2 September 1985 – 13 June 1987
Preceded by Lord Gowrie
Succeeded by Kenneth Clarke

In office
2 September 1985 – 13 June 1987
Preceded by John Gummer
Succeeded by Peter Brooke

In office
11 October 1983 – 2 September 1985
Preceded by Cecil Parkinson
Succeeded by Leon Brittan

In office
14 September 1981 – 16 October 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by James Prior
Succeeded by Tom King

Born 29 March 1931 (1931-03-29) (age 78)
Ponders End, Middlesex, England
Political party Conservative

Norman Beresford Tebbit, Baron Tebbit CH, PC (born 29 March 1931) is a British Conservative politician and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Chingford, who was born in Ponders End, Middlesex. He and his wife were injured,[1] she seriously, in the Provisional Irish Republican Army bombing of the 1984 Conservative Party conference in Brighton.


Early life

Born into a working class family, Tebbit went to Edmonton County School, an academically selective state school in north London. He was then a journalist for the Financial Times before serving with the Royal Air Force. During four years of National Service he flew Meteor and Vampire jets and had to break open the cockpit canopy of a burning Mosquito aircraft to escape from it.[2] On leaving the RAF he joined BOAC in 1953 as a pilot, during which time he was an official in the British Air Line Pilots Association. He was elected MP for Epping in 1970 and then for Chingford in Feb 1974. He is recorded as an MP member of the Conservative Monday Club in 1970.[3]

Member of Parliament

In 1975 six men (the 'Ferrybridge Six') were dismissed from their jobs because of the introduction of the closed shop and were denied unemployment benefit. The then Secretary of State for Employment Michael Foot said that: "A person who declines to fall in with new conditions of employment which result from a collective agreement may well be considered to have brought about his own dismissal". Tebbit accused Foot of "pure undiluted fascism and [it] left Mr. Foot exposed as a bitter opponent of freedom and liberty".[4] The next day (2 December) The Times first leader (ahead of the emergence of a democratic Portugal)—titled "IS MR. FOOT A FASCIST?"—quoted Tebbit and went on:

Mr. Foot's doctrine is intolerable because it is a violation of the liberty of the ordinary man in his job. Mr. Tebbit is therefore using fascism in a legitimate descriptive sense when he accuses Mr. Foot of it. We perhaps need to revive the phrase "social fascism" to describe the modern British development of the corporate state and its bureaucratic attack on personal liberty. The question is not therefore: "is Mr. Foot a fascist?" but "does Mr. Foot know he is a fascist?"[5]

During the Grunwick dispute—where there were strikes over pay, working conditions and the owner's (George Ward) refusal to recognise their trade union—there was a split in the Conservative Shadow Cabinet between the conciliatory approach of Jim Prior, the Shadow Employment Secretary, and Keith Joseph. Tebbit entered the dispute by making a controversial speech on 12 September 1977, where he said:

Inside Britain there is a...threat from the Marxist collectivist totalitarians...Just to state that fact is to be accused of 'union-bashing'...Such people are to be found in the Conservative, Liberal and Labour Parties. Their politics may be different but such people share the morality of Laval and Pétain...they are willing not only to tolerate evil, but to excuse it...Both Jim Prior and Keith Joseph know that George Ward and Grunwick are not perfect, nor was Czechoslovakia perfect in 1938. But if Ward and Grunwick are destroyed by the red fascists, then, as in 1938, we will have to ask, whose turn is it next? Yes, it is like 1938. We can all see the evil, but the doctrine of appeasement is still to be heard.[6]

Tebbit was accused of comparing Prior to Laval and at that year's Conservative Party conference Tebbit attempted to avoid personalising the issue, and openly splitting the party, without retracting what he had said. Tebbit said of these differences: "I'm a hawk—but no kamikaze. And Jim's a dove—but he's not chicken".[7]

During a debate in Parliament on 2 March 1978 Michael Foot labelled Tebbit a "semi-house-trained polecat" in response to a question from Tebbit. Later in the debate Tebbit asked Foot whether he would "put a bridle on his foul-mouthed tongue".[8]

The 1979 government

After the Conservatives won the general election of 1979, Tebbit was appointed Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Trade.

In the September 1981 Cabinet reshuffle, Mrs. Thatcher appointed Tebbit as Employment Secretary. This was seen as a shift to a 'tougher' approach to the trade unions than had been the case under Tebbit's predecessor, James Prior. Tebbit introduced the Employment Act 1982 which raised the level of compensation for those unfairly dismissed from a closed shop and introduced the requirement that where a closed shop operated it could only stay if 80% of workers voted for it in periodic ballots. It also removed trade union immunity from civil action for damages if it authorised illegal industrial action. In his memoirs Tebbit said that the 1982 Act was his "greatest achievement in Government".[9]

In the aftermath of urban riots (Handsworth riots and the Brixton riot) in the summer of 1981, Tebbit responded to a suggestion by a Young Conservative (Iain Picton) that rioting was the natural reaction to unemployment:

I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it.

This exchange was the origin of the attribution to Tebbit of the slogan On yer bike!. Tebbit is often misquoted as saying directly to the unemployed "get on your bike and look for work" as a consequence of his speech, although this interpretation is arguably what he was implying. He was always portrayed as a sinister, leather-clad bovverboy by the satirical TV puppet show, Spitting Image. The Professor of English at University College London, John Mullan, has written: "In Spitting Image and probably the middle-class imagination, Norman Tebbit was given an Essex drag on his vowels which he hardly possessed. He should speak in that way because of what he represented".[10] The former Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once remarked of Tebbit: "Heard a chap on the radio this morning talking with a cockney accent. They tell me he is one of Her Majesty's ministers".[11][12] Dr Peter Dorey of the Cardiff University wrote: " was Norman Tebbit...who was perhaps the public face or voice of Essex Man, and articulated his views and prejudices".[13]

The 1983 government

The Nuffield study of the 1983 general election found that Tebbit was the second most prominent Conservative on radio and television news broadcasts during the campaign with 81 appearances (after Thatcher's 331 appearances).[14]

In the post-election October 1983 reshuffle, Tebbit was moved from Employment to become Trade and Industry Secretary to replace Cecil Parkinson, who had resigned. Thatcher had actually wanted Tebbit to become Home Secretary but William Whitelaw vetoed this.[15] He was injured in the IRA's bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton during the 1984 Conservative Party conference , (he still has a slight limp, but was largely protected by a mattress falling on him) [16] and his wife, Margaret, was permanently disabled.

Tebbit was appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1985 along with being Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster as Thatcher wanted to keep him in the Cabinet. During the Westland affair Tebbit was against the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation taking over Westland Aircraft. In 1986 Tebbit was against the American bombing raid of Libya from British bases and of Thatcher's refusal to fully consult the Cabinet on the matter. However, he did criticise the BBC for its supposed biased reporting of the raid. During the same year, he disbanded the Federation of Conservative Students, for publishing an article, penned by Harry Phibbs, following Nikolai Tolstoy's accusation that former Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was complicit in the forced repatriation of Serbian Cossack prisoners of war in the aftermath of World War II[17]

On 13 April 1986, Tebbit and his chief of staff, Michael Dobbs, visited Thatcher at Chequers to present her with the results of polling by Saatchi and Saatchi which found that with inflation down and the trade unions weakened, "the Prime Minister's combative virtues were being received as vices: her determination was perceived as stubbornness, her single-mindedness as inflexibility and her strong will as an inability to listen".[18] Tebbit and Dobbs told her this was becoming known as the "TBW factor"; TBW standing for "That Bloody Woman". They recommended Thatcher taking a lower profile in the upcoming general election. Tebbit gave an interview a few weeks later to John Mortimer for The Spectator where he said of Thatcher: "It's a question of her leadership when our aims aren't clearly defined. When people understand what she's doing there's a good deal of admiration for her energy and resolution and persistence, even from those people who don't agree with her. Now there's a perception that we don't know where we're going so those same qualities don't seem so attractive".[19] Thatcher disagreed and her biographer claims she was suspicious of Tebbit's motives. Furthermore, Thatcher commissioned the firm Young and Rubicam to carry out their own polling, which concluded that Thatcher's leadership was not the problem. Throughout the rest of 1986 and into the 1987 election Thatcher continued to use Young and Rubicam, which eventually caused tensions with Tebbit during the election campaign.[19]

At the 1986 Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth Tebbit—along with Saatchi and Saatchi, Dobbs and the Conservatives Director of Research, Robin Harris—came up with that year's Party slogan—'The Next Move Forward'. The Conservatives for the first time employed pre-conference advertising to publicise the new-style conference and Tebbit persuaded Thatcher that ministers would state their objectives they would achieve in the next three years. These would also be used by Saatchis to design [posters, leaflets and brochures to be deployed as each minister finished their speech. The aim "was that in 1986 the media should reflect the image I wanted – of a Government confident, united, clear in where it was going – and determined to get there".[20] According to Tebbit the conference "was more successful than I had dared to hope...the opinion polls which had us 7% behind in June and still 5% down in September now put us back into first place – a position we never relinquished from then right through the election campaign. The Prime Minister's ratings were immediately restored".[21]

For quite a while he was seen as Thatcher's natural successor as Party leader. During early 1986, when Thatcher's popularity declined in the polls, commentators began to suggest that the succession of the Conservative leadership would lie between Michael Heseltine and Tebbit.[22] A MORI opinion poll in March 1987 saw Tebbit as second-favourite amongst voters as Thatcher's successor (15% to Heseltine's 24%); however, amongst Conservative voters, Tebbit was the front-runner with 21% (against Heseltine's 14%).[23] In October 1988 MORI asked the same question, with similar results: Heseltine on 22% and Tebbit 15% amongst all voters but Tebbit leading with 26% (Heseltine 20%) amongst Conservative voters.[24] However Thatcher apparently once told Rupert Murdoch: "I couldn't get him elected as leader of the Tory party even if I wanted – nor would the country elect him if he was".[25]

On the 6 January 1987, the journalist Hugo Young published a quote attributed to Tebbit in The Guardian newspaper. Tebbit's chief of staff, Michael Dobbs, responded by writing a letter to the newspaper citing Young's dislike of Tebbit, adding "Perhaps this explains the invention of the quotation he [Mr. Young] attributed to Mr. Tebbit". The quote was "No-one with a conscience votes Conservative". Before this letter was published, however, the words "the invention of" had been removed. Despite publishing this letter The Guardian subsequently repeated the quote and Young again attributed it to him in a letter to The Spectator. Tebbit feared that if no action was taken against The Guardian the Labour Party would use this quote against the Conservatives in the upcoming general election. With Thatcher's consent Tebbit threatened the newspaper with legal action if they did not retract the quotation and apologise to Tebbit. The case continued until 1988 when the The Guardian apologised, published a retraction and paid £14,000 in libel damages in an out-of-court settlement.[26]

During the 1987 general election, Tebbit and Saatchi and Saatchi spearheaded the Conservative campaign, focusing on the economy and defence. However, when on 'Wobbly Thursday' it was rumoured a Marplan opinion poll showed a 2% Conservative lead the 'exiles' camp of David Young, Tim Bell and the Young and Rubicam firm advocated a more aggressively anti-Labour message. This was when, according to Young's memoirs, Young got Tebbit by the lapels and shook him, shouting: "Norman, listen to me, we're about to lose this fucking election".[27][28] In his memoirs Tebbit defends the Conservative campaign: "We finished exactly as planned on the ground where Labour was weak and we were strong – defence, taxation, and the economy".[29] During the election campaign however Tebbit and Thatcher argued.[30] Tebbit had already informed Thatcher at the beginning of the campaign that he would leave the government after the election in order to care for his wife.[31] Thatcher said to her friend Woodrow Wyatt on the Sunday after polling day: "He'll carry the scar of that Brighton bombing all his life. I didn't want him to go. Whenever he is away from her he can't even attend to business properly. He's always ringing up to find out if the nurses are looking after his wife all right".[32] In her memoirs Thatcher said she "bitterly regretted" losing a like-minded person from the Cabinet.[33]


In late 1987 and 1988, Tebbit formed a temporary alliance with Michael Heseltine in campaigning for the abolition of the Inner London Education Authority, which they succeeded in achieving through a back-bench amendment.[34]

Tebbit was also prominent in an unsuccessful Conservative back-bench rebellion against the Bill to give 50,000 households (around 250,000 people) from Hong Kong British citizenship.[35][36]

In April 1990, he proposed the "Cricket test", also known as the "Tebbit Test", where he argued that whether people from ethnic minorities in Britain supported the England Cricket team (rather than the team from their country of origin) should be considered a barometer - but not the sole indicator - of whether they are truly British.

Tebbit told Woodrow Wyatt in 1991 that he did not think immigrant communities would assimilate "because some of them insist on sticking to their own culture, like the Muslims in Bradford and so forth, and they are extremely dangerous".[37] In August 2005, after the 7 July 2005 London bombings, which were carried out by three young men of Pakistani descent and one of Jamaican descent, Tebbit claimed vindication for these views.[38]

In a conversation with Woodrow Wyatt on 19 December 1988, Tebbit said he would not go back into politics unless Thatcher "was run over by the proverbial bus and he didn't like the look of the person he thought might get her job and destroy the work they've done".[39] On another occasion (22 February 1990) Tebbit said to Wyatt he would stand for the Conservative leadership if Thatcher suddenly resigned but when Alec Douglas-Home suggested that Thatcher would not stand at the next election because she must be tired, Tebbit disagreed: "She has got amazing stamina".[40]

After Geoffrey Howe's resignation from the government in November 1990 Thatcher asked Tebbit to return to the Cabinet to be Education Secretary but he refused on the grounds that he was looking after his wife.[41] During the 1990 Conservative Party leadership election Tebbit was on Thatcher's campaign team with the job of assessing her support amongst Conservative MPs.[42] According to one of Thatcher's biographers, Tebbit was "her most visible cheerleader...who characteristically took the fight to Heseltine by holding a cheeky press conference on his Belgravia doorstep".[43] After the first ballot but before the results became known, Tebbit wanted Thatcher to make a clear commitment to fight the second ballot if her vote fell short of the amount needed to win out-right.[44] When Tebbit saw Thatcher on 21 November he told her she was the candidate with the best chance of beating Heseltine.[45] However Thatcher withdrew from the contest the next day. Tebbit wanted to stand, but never did. Tebbit then switched his support to John Major.[46]

Tebbit had formally accepted an invitation to speak at a Conservative Monday Club dinner in June 1991 on 'the Future of Conservatism'. However he sent a message to the Charing Cross Hotel, just one hour prior to the dinner saying that the Government Whips were demanding he (and all other Conservative MPs in the House) stay and vote on the Dangerous Dog Bill. It was the only occasion in the Club's history where someone had failed to honour their engagement. In September 2007 he addressed the club in the House of Lords.

After Major came back from Maastricht with an opt-out from the Social Chapter and the single currency, Tebbit was one of the few MPs to criticise the new powers the Community would acquire in the debate on 18 December 1991. He claimed the government had been on the defensive against "federalist follies" and that Maastricht had seen "a series of bridgeheads into our constitution, into the powers of this House, and into the lives of individuals and businesses".[47]


Tebbit decided not to stand in the 1992 election, in order to devote more time to caring for his disabled wife. After the election he was granted a life peerage and entered the House of Lords as Baron Tebbit, of Chingford in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. His former seat of Chingford was aggregated with Woodford Green in boundary changes and was held for the Conservative Party by his successor and protégé Iain Duncan Smith. Tebbit famously said: "If you think I'm right-wing, you should meet this guy".[48]

Tebbit resumed his fight against the Maastricht Treaty. On 11 August 1992 Wyatt noted in his diary: "[Thatcher] also seems to have formed a new alliance with Tebbit who stirs her up and talks a lot of nonsense".[49] At the October 1992 Conservative Party Conference in Brighton, Tebbit embarrassed John Major's government when he made a speech attacking the Maastricht Treaty. As he walked up onto the podium he was applauded by some sections of the audience, described as "young, in t-shirts, aggressively self-confident - the lager louts of our party" in the diary of the Conservative Party chairman of the time.[50] Holding aloft a copy of the Treaty, Tebbit asked the conference a series of questions about the Treaty; did they want to see a single currency or be citizens of a European Union? The audience shouted back "No!" after each question. Tebbit received a tumultuous standing ovation and walked into the centre of the Conference hall waving amongst the cheers. Gyles Brandreth, a Conservative whip, wrote in his diary:

"The talk of the town is Norman Tebbit's vulgar grand-standing barn-storming performance on Europe. He savaged Maastricht, poured scorn on monetary union, patronised the PM...and brought the conference (or a good part of it) to its feet roaring for more. He stood there, arms aloft, acknowledging the ovation, Norman the conqueror".[51]

In his memoirs Major accused Tebbit of hypocrisy and disloyalty because Tebbit had encouraged Conservative MPs to vote for the Single European Act in 1986 but was now campaigning for Maastricht's rejection.[52]

Tebbit privately said of Major on 17 November 1994: "He has the mulishness of a weak man with stupidity". When asked what would it take for him to support Major, Tebbit responded: "Have an entirely new department, the sole job of which would be to deal with the Brussels machinery in every aspect. I agree that we don't want to leave the EU, but we've got to manipulate it and block every single advance we don't like. No, no, no must be his weapon. Veto everything he disapproves of or that we disapprove of".[53]

In 1995 Tebbit publicly backed John Redwood's bid for the Conservative Party leadership, praising his "brains, courage and humour".

Speaking in the Lords on 26 November 1996, Lord Tebbit attacked aid to Africa, saying that most aid sent to Africa goes down a "sink of iniquity, corruption and violence" and does little to help the poor. A spokesman for the charity Oxfam said Tebbit's view was "simplistic and unhelpful". Later Lord Tebbit defended his statement that most money went "into the pockets" of politicians "to buy guns for warlords".[54]

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph on 2 November 1998 Tebbit said homosexuals should be barred from being Home Secretary.[55] A Conservative Party spokesman said Tebbit was "out of touch" and Hague's official spokesman said Hague disagreed with Tebbit.[56]

In October 1999 he spoke out against the plans to abolish the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Tebbit said he was against throwing the Constabulary's name and badge "into the modernisation trash can" and that the RUC had been "the thin green line standing between bloody anarchy and the rule of law". Tebbit also mocked Blair's pledge at the Labour conference to "set people free": "He has set them free. More than 250 terrorists, bombers and extortionists. Kneecappers, kidnappers, arsonists and killers have been set free. But their victims remain imprisoned. Some are imprisoned within broken bodies. Some imprisoned in grief for their loved ones. Some imprisoned by death in their graves".[57]

In an interview for the New Statesman magazine in June 2000, Tebbit praised Hague's right-ward shift and revealed that he had "never been a [Michael] Portillo fan". He also mused on not standing for the Conservative leadership after Thatcher's resignation: "When I look at what happened to the party, I tell myself that perhaps I failed in a duty. I suppose I am one of those who have it on my conscience that I allowed Mr Blair to become prime minister". When asked if he regretted also allowing Major to become Prime Minister, Tebbit responded:

"I helped him. If I'd opposed him, he wouldn't have been on the radar screen. I'd have been opposing Michael Heseltine. I had to make the decision quickly. I didn't want to go back on my word to my wife that I'd retired from front-line politics. How would it all work? Was No 10 suitable for someone in a wheelchair? All these things go through one's mind. Then if Michael had won...he would have had to ask me to join his government, and I didn't want that. I asked myself: why am I risking all this? And I made my decision...I might have been an absolute disaster in the job. It's possible. So I am left there. You can't rewrite it. You can't rerun it."[58]

In an article for The Spectator in May 2001 Tebbit claimed that retired British security service agents from the Foreign Office had infiltrated James Goldsmith's Referendum Party in the 1990s and then later infiltrated United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Tebbit called for an independent enquiry into the matter.[59][60][61]

In August 2002 Tebbit called on the then leader of the Conservatives, Iain Duncan Smith, to "clear out" Conservative Central Office of "squabbling children" who were involved with infighting within the Party.[62] He named Mark MacGregor, a former leader of the Federation of Conservative Students which Tebbit disbanded for "loony Right libertarian politics", as one of them. Then in October the same year Tebbit accused a group of Conservative "modernisers" called "The Movement" of trying to get him expelled from the Party. Tebbit said that The Movement consisted of a "loose" grouping of thirteen members who had previously supported Kenneth Clarke and Michael Portillo for Party leader. Duncan-Smith subsequently denied that Tebbit would ever be expelled and Lady Thatcher publicly said she was "appalled" at attempts to have Tebbit expelled and telephoned him to say that she was "four square behind him".[63]

In February 2003 Lord Tebbit, speaking to an audience of the Chartered Institute of Journalists at London's Reform Club in Pall Mall, urged journalists to reject political correctness in favour of "open, honest and vigorous debate". He blamed "timid" politicians, including members of his own party, for allowing PC language and ideas to take hold in Britain by default.[64]

In 2004 he opposed the British Government's Gender Recognition Act 2004 and Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Tebbit backed David Davis for Party leader during the 2005 Conservative leadership election.[65]

On 30 January 2006 he accused the Conservative Party of abandoning the party's true supporters on the Right, and opposed the new Leader David Cameron's attempts "to reposition the party on the 'Left of the middle ground'".[66]

In March 2007 he became patron of the cross party Better Off Out campaign which advocates British withdrawal from the EU.[67] Tebbit issued a statement explaining his support:

"From being a supporter of British membership of the Common Market in 1970 I have come to believe that the United Kingdom would be Better Off Out of the developing European Republic of the 21st century. We British have a thousand year history of self-government. We have been free and democratic longer than any other nation. The European Union is too diverse, too bureaucratic, too corporatist and too centralist to be a functioning democracy. We are happy to trade with our European friends and the rest of the world - but we would prefer to govern ourselves."[68]

In an interview with The Times in September 2007 Tebbit said the Conservatives lack somebody of the standing of Thatcher and claimed that although it did not matter if Cameron's team were educated at Eton "what a lot of people will suggest is that they don't know how the other half lives. David and his colleagues — the very clever young men they have in Central Office these days — are very intellectually clever but they have no experience of the world whatsoever. He has spent much of his time in the Conservative Party and as a public relations guy. Well, it's not the experience of most people in the streets. That's the real attack and that's damaging to him, I think".[69][70]

In February 2008, after a sympathetic magazine article written by shadow education secretary Michael Gove, Tebbit publicly criticised what he characterised as "the poisonous tree of Blairism" which he claimed had been "planted" in the Conservative Party front bench.[71]

In May 2009, Norman Tebbit urged voters to snub the main three political parties in the upcoming EU Parliament election. Tebbit, who in March 2009 revealed that he would vote for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), said "Local elections, the great British public should just treat as normal" but suggested using the European election to send a message to the implicated parties. Tebbit pointed out that there were a series of smaller parties people could vote for in addition to UKIP, including the Green Party, but he urged against voting British National Party.[72]

Tebbit is the vice-president of the Conservative Way Forward group. He currently lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

In the media

Tebbit was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!.


  • Norman Tebbit, Britain's Future (1985) ISBN 0-85070-743-9
  • Norman Tebbit, Britain in the 1990s (1986) ISBN 0-86048-006-2
  • Norman Tebbit, Values of Freedom (1986) ISBN 0-85070-748-X
  • Norman Tebbit, New Consensus (1988) ISBN 1-871591-00-7
  • Norman Tebbit, Upwardly Mobile (Futura, 1991).
  • Norman Tebbit, Unfinished Business (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991) ISBN 0-297-81149-5
  • Norman Tebbit, (introduction) Disappearing Britain (2005) ISBN 0-9657812-3-2


  1. ^ The Independent Tebbit interview with Deborah Ross 3/10/2009
  2. ^ Mortimer, John (1986). Character Parts. London: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-008959-4.  
  3. ^ Copping, Robert, The Story of The Monday Club - The First Decade, London, April 1972: 21
  4. ^ Norman Tebbit, Upwardly Mobile (Futura, 1991), p. 192.
  5. ^ "Is Mr Foot a Fascist?". The Times: p. 13. 2 December 1975.  
  6. ^ Tebbit, pp. 194-5.
  7. ^ Tebbit, p. 196.
  8. ^ HC PQ [Business of the House] | Margaret Thatcher Foundation
  9. ^ Tebbit, p. 233.
  10. ^ John Mullan, 'Lost voices', The Guardian, 18 June 1999
  11. ^ Chris Moncrieff, 'When Labour MPs wore miners' helmets', The Guardian, 10 May 2001
  12. ^ Don Grant, 'CLUBBING: Pratts? If you say so, sir', The Independent on Sunday, 26 October 2003
  13. ^ British Politics Group Newsletter, Spring 2005
  14. ^ John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady (Jonathan Cape, 2003), p. 194.
  15. ^ Campbell, pp. 205-206.
  16. ^ The Independent, Tebbit interview with Deborah Ross 3/10/2009
  17. ^
  18. ^ Campbell, p. 499.
  19. ^ a b Campbell, p. 500.
  20. ^ Tebbit, p. 319.
  21. ^ Tebbit, p. 320.
  22. ^ Campbell, p. 498.
  23. ^ Alan Watkins, A Conservative Coup. The Fall of Margaret Thatcher (Duckworth, 1992), p. 88.
  24. ^ Watkins, p. 93.
  25. ^ Andrew Neil, Full Disclosure (Macmillan, 1996), p. 236.
  26. ^ Tebbit, p. 328.
  27. ^ Campbell, p. 522.
  28. ^ Has Gordon Brown delivered his last Budget? The truth is that Blair hasn't yet decided | Spectator, The | Find Articles at
  29. ^ Tebbit, p. 336.
  30. ^ Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (HarperCollins, 1993), p. 584.
  31. ^ Tebbit, p. 332.
  32. ^ Woodrow Wyatt, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Volume One (Pan, 1999), p. 371.
  33. ^ Thatcher, p. 587.
  34. ^ Watkins, p. 91.
  35. ^ Whitney, Craig R., 1990-01-10. Big British Fight Shapes Up On Hong Kong Emigre Plan. Retrieved 2008-07-08
  36. ^ Rule, Sheila. 1990-04-20. Britain Will Offer Refuge to 50,000 Successful Hong Kong Families. Retrieved 2008-07-08
  37. ^ Woodrow Wyatt, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Volume Two (Pan, 2000), p. 530.
  38. ^ 'Tebbit: 'Cricket test' could have stopped bombings'
  39. ^ Wyatt, Volume One, p. 692.
  40. ^ Wyatt, Volume Two, pp. 244-5.
  41. ^ Thatcher, p. 835.
  42. ^ Thatcher, p. 846.
  43. ^ Campbell, p. 724.
  44. ^ Campbell, p. 731.
  45. ^ Thatcher, p. 847.
  46. ^ Watkins, p. 215.
  47. ^ Christopher Booker and Richard North, The Great Deception. A Secret History of the European Union (Continuum, 2003), p. 276.
  48. ^ BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | Thursday 25 July
  49. ^ Woodrow Wyatt, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Volume Three (Pan, 2001), p. 83.
  50. ^ Norman Fowler, A Political Suicide (Politico's, 2008), p. 133
  51. ^ Gyles Brandreth, Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries, 1992-97 (Phoenix, 2000), p. 124.
  52. ^ John Major, The Autobiography (HarperCollins, 2000), p. 861.
  53. ^ Wyatt, Volume Three, pp. 437-8.
  54. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 27 Nov 1996
  55. ^ "George Jones, 'Keep gays out of top Government jobs, says Tebbit', The Daily Telegraph, 2 November 1998". Archived from the original on 2003-05-23. Retrieved 2009-06-02.  
  56. ^ "Robert Shrimsley, ‘Tory leaders reject Tebbit's views on gays’, The Daily Telegraph, 3 November 1999". Archived from the original on 2003-05-12. Retrieved 2009-06-02.  
  57. ^ George Jones, Polly Newton Andrew Sparrow, 'Tebbit launches bitter attack on Patten's proposals for RUC', The Daily Telegraph, 6 October 1999
  58. ^ New Statesman - The New Statesman Interview - Norman Tebbit
  59. ^ UKIP: Is there a hidden agenda? | Spectator, The | Find Articles at
  60. ^ BBC NEWS | VOTE2001 | Tebbit secret agent claim
  61. ^ Weekly Worker 386 Thursday 31 May 2001
  62. ^ [1] 18 August 2002
  63. ^ Thatcher `appalled' by attacks on Tebbit | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at
  64. ^ Press Gazette, London, 21 February 2003.
  65. ^,,59-1861876,00.html Timesonline
  66. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2006.
  67. ^ BBC NEWS | Politics | Tebbit supports EU exit campaign
  68. ^ Supporters
  69. ^ Ginny Dougary, Norman Tebbit discusses Cameron, loss and multiculturalism, The Times
  70. ^ Philip Webster, 'Tebbit hits out at Tories and names Brown as Thatcher's natural heir', The Times, 26 September 2007
  71. ^ Andrew Porter "Lord Tebbit warns on worship of Tony Blair", Daily Telegraph, 18 April 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2008
  72. ^ Matthew Moore (2009-05-12). "MPs' expenses: Lord Tebbit says do not vote Conservative at European elections". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-13.  

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stan Newens
Member of Parliament for Epping
1970Feb 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Chingford
Feb 19741992
Succeeded by
Iain Duncan Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Prior
Secretary of State for Employment
1981 – 1983
Succeeded by
Tom King
Preceded by
Cecil Parkinson
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
1983 – 1985
Succeeded by
Leon Brittan
Preceded by
The Earl of Gowrie
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1985 – 1987
Succeeded by
Kenneth Clarke
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Gummer
Chairman of the Conservative Party
1985 – 1987
Succeeded by
Peter Brooke


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Norman Beresford Tebbit, Baron Tebbit, CH, PC (born March 29, 1931) is a British Conservative politician.


  • I have no intention of slurring over the differences we have with socialism, nor concealing my belief that we are the National Party of Great Britain, representing not narrow class interest, nor the bigotry of the left wing intellectuals, but all those who support the British tradition of democracy, of personal freedom, of personal responsibility for one's own affairs and those of one's family, with the least possible interference from the State.
    • Speech to Epping Conservatives (17 November, 1969).
    • Norman Tebbit, Upwardly Mobile (Futura, 1991), p. 104.
  • If we give in to the terrorists we will have more skyjacking, and not merely from the Arabs...Whatever happenes to these hostages—and I could easily have been one of them—if we give in even more people will be taken hostage and more lives will be laid at risk.
  • Most people know it [this election] is being fought because a tiny minority of communists and extreme leftists are trying to overthrow a legally elected Government and indeed Parliament itself by the use of the strike weapon...'Can the election solve the strike?' Yes. Agree or disagree with the result, the miners accept the verdict of their own national ballot. I believe they will accept the result of this national ballot too.
    • General election address (January 1974).
    • Tebbit, p. 168.
  • Inside Britain there is a parallel threat from the Marxist collectivist totalitarians too. Small in number, those anti-democratic forces have gained great power through the trades union movement. Just to state that fact is to be accused of 'union-bashing'—often by people who know it to be true. Such people are to be found in the Conservative, Liberal and Labour Parties. Their politics may be different but such people share the morality of Laval and Pétain...they are willing not only to tolerate evil, but to excuse it...and to profit by so doing...Both Jim Prior and Keith Joseph know that George Ward and Grunwick are not perfect, nor was Czechoslovakia perfect in 1938. But if Ward and Grunwick are destroyed by the red fascists, then, as in 1938, we will have to ask, whose turn is it next? Yes, it is like 1938. We can all see the evil, but the doctrine of appeasement is still to be heard.
    • Speech in Chingford on the Grunwick dispute (12 September, 1977).
    • Tebbit, pp. 194-5.
  • I'm a hawk—but no kamikaze. And Jim's a dove—but he's not chicken.
    • On Jim Prior, Shadow Employment Secretary, in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference (October, 1977).
    • Tebbit, p. 196.
  • I grew up in the 30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot; he got on his bike and looked for work and he kept looking 'til he found it.
    • Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (15 October, 1981).
  • We need to create an enterprise culture, a society where successful entrepreneurs are respected and admired, not treated with suspicion and disdain. And in which we see less envy of other peoples' achievements and mistrust of commerce, and a greater readiness to get out there and join in the process.
    • Speech to the Institute of Directors' Annual Conference (26 February, 1985).
  • No one likes to see redundancies at home at the same time as he sees a surge of imports from abroad. The temptation to succumb to political pressure, to make a special case or to give respite is often overwhelming. But to do so, except in response to clearly unfair trading practices, is to court disaster. The temporary measure frequently becomes the permanent fixture and the special case, a precedent for more. And by shielding industry from fair competition in the short-term, long term decline is guaranteed.
    • Speech in London (21 May, 1985).
  • The path away from economic freedom is, as Hayek long ago demonstrated, the road to serfdom. The road may be a long one: the pace may be swift or slow: but the destination cannot be changed. State ownership, state monopolies, state regulation and state planning, through the centralisation of economic power, inevitably lead to economic failure. They inevitably increase both the temptation and the scope for abuses of political power until freedom itself is threatened. The planned economies, the controlled societies which socialism requires, pervert what are truly economic decisions for the market into political decisions for the politician or the bureaucrat. The fruits of centralised economics are corruption, poverty and servility—and in the socialist society the only medicine which may be prescribed is heavier doses of the same socialist poison.
    • The 1985 Disraeli Lecture (13 November, 1985)
  • I had long believed that the Heath aberration of authoritarian centralist corporatism apart, most of the values, ethos and policies of Conservatism were strongly supported by working-class voters. Those voters—especially the socio-economic groups C1 and C2—I saw as natural Conservatives who nevertheless saw themselves for tribal reasons as Labour voters. However much we tried to reach them by argument, we always failed because they were unable to identify themselves with the representatives of the Tory Party they saw. I was determined to be a Conservative who spoke their language, not just what is often described as my flat North-London accent—which was after all my mother tongue—but their practical realism, lack of humbug and strong attachment to many traditional standards and values.
    • Norman Tebbit, Upwardly Mobile (Futura, 1991), p. 172.
  • I played my part in turning the sick country of Europe into one of the most successful and respected in the world. After ten years of Mrs. Thatcher's premiership the talk of the 'English disease' has been replaced by wonder at the 'Thatcher miracle'. Britain the laggard has become Britain the leader and our policies have become the standard against which others are measured.
    • Norman Tebbit, Upwardly Mobile (Futura, 1991), p. 339.
  • The word 'conservative' is used by the BBC as a portmanteau word of abuse for anyone whose views differ from the insufferable, smug, sanctimonious, naïve, guilt-ridden, wet, pink orthodoxy of that sunset home of the third-rate minds of that third-rate decade, the nineteen-sixties.
    • The Independent (24 February, 1990).
  • A large proportion of Britain's Asian population fail to pass the cricket test. Which side do they cheer for? It is an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are? I think we have got real problems in that regard.
    • In an interview for the Los Angeles Times (April, 1990).
  • The mark of a single currency is not only that all other currencies must be extinguished but that the capacity of other institutions to issue currencies must also be extinguished...In the case of the United Kingdom, that would involve Parliament binding its successors in a way that it has hitherto regarded as unconstitutional.
  • I suspect that the only thing that will take Articles Two and Three out of the Irish Constitution is when the bombs begin to blow in Dublin in the way that they have been in Belfast and in London.
    • On Sky television. (19 July, 1993).
  • Go away and have another heart attack!
    • According to Francis Wheen, Tebbit shouted this at left-wing Labour MP Tom Litterick during a House of Commons debate in the late 1970s, on the day of Litterick's return to the commons after a lengthy abscence following a heart attack and extensive heart surgery. Litterick did in fact die of another heart attack shortly afterwards[1]
  • A typical piece of BBC anti-Tory propaganda.
    • From an article published in a 1985 edition of the Monday Club magazine 'Right Ahead' which was heavily critical of the BBC and of what Tebbit regarded as the corporation's left-wing bias. Tebbit was referring to an episode of the popular BBC science-fiction series Doctor Who entitled 'Pyramids of Mars' which he had recently seen - he perceived a "wasteland version of 1980" featured in the episode to be a symbolic, allegorical and propagandistic attack on the Thatcher government. Tebbit was apparently completely unaware that the episode in question was actually filmed in 1975, four years before Thatcher had even come to power. [Eric Luskin, Doctor Who in the 80s (Virgin, 1996)]
  • He (John Major) has the mulishness of a weak man with stupidity.
    • [Source: The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume 3, p. 437.]

About Tony Blair (1 May 2005):

  • I don't think he's a liar, just a fantasist. He says whatever he likes, and then he believes it.


  • The Muslim religion is so unreformed since it was created that nowhere in the Muslim world has there been any real advance in science, or art or literature, or technology in the last 500 years...we've leapt ahead in all material terms, but the Muslim world would say we have fallen down in all spiritual and moral terms. We have to accept our share of the blame and they have to accept theirs.
  • My Lords, would it not be a good idea if the Chairman of Committees and all Members resisted the mad idea of this House being dragged into this century? It is a very disagreeable century. Would it not be a better idea to drag us back perhaps into the 19th century, which in many ways was a very much better one for this country?

They want to know if Mr Cameron has bought into the Blairite, ever-expanding, ever more costly, interfering nanny state, or whether he has proposals to strengthen family life, restore discipline in schools, combat crime, deal with the now almost universally recognised dangers of multiculturalism and the unlimited immigration of unassimilable minorities, raise standards in schools and the NHS, and bring back home powers lost to Brussels.

    The Spectator, 29 July 2006
  • I haven't got a racist bone in my little finger.
    • Cryptic response to claims that he is a racist

[Private Eye, No. 1169, October 2006]

  • If they (Muslim women) wish to cover their faces and isolate themselves from the rest of the community and so thoroughly reject our culture then I cannot imagine why they want to be here at all. Perhaps they should just push off back to their own countries.
    • [Private Eye, No. 1170, October 2006]
  • The BBC is another part of the destruction of Great Britain.
    • The Daily Telegraph (9 February 2009) [5]


  • Norman is one of the bravest men I have ever met. He will never deviate on a point of principle—and those principles are ones which even the least articulate Tory knows he shares.

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