Howe scolded for long-winded Budget speech

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Margaret Thatcher upbraided Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Geoffrey Howe for his long-winded Budget speeches.

Files show the Prime Minister told him he needed to cut the detail in his 1982 Budget statement “by at least 1/3”. “I have one overwhelming impression of this speech – it is so detailed that the general shape and purpose of the Budget is lost,” she scrawled in the margin of his draft text.

Her Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham, said he needed to come up with some “goodies” early on. “The Chancellor needs the sort of opening which perks up his supporters and rocks back the Opposition,” he advised.

Sir Geoffrey’s resignation speech in 1990 is widely seen as dealing Mrs Thatcher a fatal blow as her premiership faltered.