Cabinet meeting branded ‘bland and miserable’

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Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet meetings were “miserably disappointing” committees of “unctuous self-satisfaction”, according to the account of the then leader of the House of Commons.

John Biffen, also the former Lord Privy Seal, gave a damning briefing of a particular “absolutely awful” meeting to the press in 1984, drawing the ire of Number 10 and the House of Lords.

Describing the round-table discussion on February 9, 1984, he reportedly said: “Cabinet this morning had been one of the most bland, miserable, disappointing meetings” he had ever been at.

“It was absolutely awful; there was no lively debate, just unctuous self-satisfaction.

“The opposition voices in the Cabinet were muted.”

Opponents of Mrs Thatcher criticised her for filling Cabinet with “yes men”, who would rubber-stamp her policies with little opposition.